Is Paranormal Activity real? How the film was made explained

Eve Edwards April 24, 2021

Is the film Paranormal Activity real? Movie goers revisiting the classic horror still want to know about whether the story is true or fake.

The 80s were responsible for some of horror’s beloved classics. The decade saw the release of Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Aliens, Predator, Hellraiser; the list goes on. But in more recent years, we’ve seen that the modern horror has much to offer the genre.

This century’s offerings have highlighted how multifaceted these movies can be. They play with social themes, filmic styles, and even genre-bending.

We revisit Paranormal Activity and find out how the film was made.

Is Paranormal Activity real?

No. The first Paranormal Activity film and the rest of the franchise are all fictional.

Although they are filmed in a found footage-style, none of the movies are real. In fact, the first Paranormal Activity cost just $15,000 to make, as they required next-to-no budget. The two lead actors were paid $500 for their roles in the first film and they filmed it in the director’s house.

The two lead actors did not have a script, helping it have a sense of realism.


The franchise was created by Israeli-American director Oren Peli. Peli has a fear of ghosts and so decided to create these films to channel his fear into something positive.

On Friday, 23 April 2021, Channel 4 made their Gogglebox families watch Paranormal Activity. They inevitably got a fright, but also discussed how real the film felt.

Marcus Ven from South London said: “It’s weird how they filmed it you know, it makes it feel so real.”

Others, such as Mary Killen, were left pretty speechless by the film.

What are the Paranormal Activity films about?

Each film in the Paranormal Activity franchise focusses on a family haunted by a demon. In each, the demon stalks, possesses, then murders members of the family.

The first film focusses on Katie (played by Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Stoat), a young couple who get plagued by a demon after they move into a new house.

Paranormal Activity 2 and 3 serve as prequels to the first film, whereas the fourth film is a sequel. Katie reappears in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) but does not make an appearance in Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015).

Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.