The Original Paranormal Activity House Scares the Daylights Out of People in Prank for Sequel

Open house makes for a fun Halloween stunt

To get people excited about Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the horror-movie franchise staged the ultimate haunted-house prank—an open house in the actual home where the first Paranormal Activity was filmed.

In due course, potential homebuyers were subjected to all the bells and whistles of a proper haunting, including falling paintings, shattering mirrors and static electricity in the microwave.

It turns out watching people totally lose their shit with minimal provocation is hilarious. (Well, almost minimal. That mirror thing would have freaked us out, too.) It's very much in the spirit of Thinkmodo's Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise, the 2013 guerrilla campaign for the film Carrie, though we'd argue this one seems a little less spontaneous. It also recalls Trulia's haunted open house from 2014.

Most of the people touring the house are a hair too photogenic for this "prank" to be anything but staged—there's even a moment when two women screaming in front of the broken mirror look like they're suppressing smiles. But at least it's honest about its promotional intentions.

Lots of other obviously staged videos pretending to be legitimate (we're looking at you, BuzzFeed) aren't as forthcoming, and the artifice just makes us feel cheap. David Kiefaber is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak.
Publish date: October 20, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT