Paranormal Activity 4
It was only a couple of years ago when the Paranormal Activity film series started to scare audiences and become a Halloween tradition. I have a lot of respect for the first film, as it was filmed for something like ten thousand dollars, yet became so popular at film festivals, that it was picked up by Paramount and was given a wide release. I’ll admit that the first three films gave me chills when I first saw them, but they don’t have much rewatch value. Once you’ve seen the scares, you have the ability to predict when their gonna come. But the problem with expanding this kind of film series is that you have to keep offering new ideas to frighten you’re audience, otherwise everyone will become cynical.
Paranormal Activity 4 is something that I’ve been waiting for from this franchise; an actual sequel. The previous movies (except for the first) were prequels that attempted to provide a deeper backstory to explain the demons. Though I enjoyed Paranormal Activity 3 for re creating the 1980’s through found footage, I felt stupid coming out as I felt too much was unexplained to the audience. I thought that this film would come around full circle to give us these answers. But this film only adds more confusion for the seemingly conflicting ideas.
The movie starts by shifting locations from southern California to Henderson, Nevada. High Scholar Alex (played by Kathryn Newton) is living with her family and constantly hanging out with her boyfriend Ben (played by Matt Shively). She’s watching her younger brother Wyatt playing soccer when she starts to notice a strange little boy that likes to stare a lot. The boy appears to be creepy…the first time he shows up. It turns out he’s the adopted son of their neighbor from across the street, Katie, the only character that has been in all of the other Paranormal Activity movies. When a sudden leave of absence happens, Alex’s family agrees to watch this creepy young boy, Robbie.
As Ben is showing that his video chats to Alex are being recorded (even creepier), they both noticed that Robbie crawled into her bed and slept with her for the whole night. They also see that Robbie likes to walk around the house early in the morning. Wanting to investigate, Ben teaches Alex how to set up the rest of the computers (the family must have at least six laptops) to see everything that happens in the night. Robbie brings some scares to the family from strange Xbox Kinect tracking movement to falling chandeliers.
Paranormal Activity 4 has brought the series moving forward, yet nothing new is given to us. From what I gathered, they only seem to say that Katie is the villain, and there’s a devil-worshipping cult to deal with. For those that have seen the other movies, they already know this. I already knew this. The movie tries to offer some new scares, but even only a few of them work. Most of them are starting to seem tired and rehashed. How many times can the camera turn to see a child suddenly standing there?
I’ll give this two and a half Kinect tracking dots out of five. This is the weakest of the series so far. While I hope something better will happen, I’m sure the studios are gonna milk this as much as possible for money.