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'Paranormal Activity,' the horror of supernatural decor

October 12, 2009 |  4:02 pm

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It wasn't the demon. It was the decor. With apologies to the cult building around the midnight shocker "Paranormal Activity," the most terrifying thing about the film was its claustrophobic, stultifying suburban set. The spooky goings-on unfold inside a San Diego tract house, circa 2006, filled with furniture that looked like a one-day run to Pier 1, Z Gallerie, Cost Plus World Market and L.A. budget favorite Anna's Linens (with a stop at Best Buy for the most honkingly huge TV and some video equipment).

Working on a $15,000 budget for the entire film, director Oren Peli accurately captured the look of an average home where a young and obnoxious day trader is shacking up with his fiancee, a college student who has been demonized by an evil spirit since age 8.

Among the frights: A puffy bachelor pad black leather sofa, a faux Tuscan chandelier, the monstrous faux salvaged-from-a-church headboard and silk orchid arrangement in the bedroom shown here, and a patchwork tapestry shower curtain in gold and burgundy that actually made me gasp in horror.

"It's the modern-day version of a Gothic castle," whispered my movie-going companion.

Too true. The home actually belongs to Peli, a former video game designer turned director who still lives in it -- I hope with some new furniture.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

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