Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Now I’m annoyed.
I consider myself a fan of the Paranormal Activity franchise. However, I’m realizing more and more that’s only because I saw the first film. Period. Had I seen any of the sequels first, I wouldn’t have been impressed at all, and I would have likely called them hogwash…and I don’t say that word often. I originally reviewed Paranormal Activity 4, and gave it a whopping 65%. Well, since I’m going through the series again, I was able to give this a more concrete score of 52%. Why? Well clearly, from my original review, I was considerably confused and didn’t understand what was happening. Now that I do…I realize that there was plot holes everywhere.
This film doesn’t center directly on the life of Katie, as the others have, but instead focuses on her neighbors in the year 2011. We have a younger main character by the name of Alex (Kathryn Newton) as she documents the strange occurrences happening around her. When for some reason Katie goes to the hospital, Alex’s family must look after her son, Robbie, who is indeed just a creepy little booger. The longer he stays with them, the more they realize that maybe he brought something in with him. Something…demonic?
I can’t tell you too much about this film without giving a lot of it away, but there are plot holes left and right in this film. The whole concept of Robbie doesn’t even make a lick of sense…you may be thinking he is Hunter (who was abducted in part 2), but don’t be so quick to judge. Robbie’s nature is not even explained…at all. He just…is. Next, the other films in the franchise introduced ‘Toby’ as the name of the demon haunting this family. Remember that, because in this film, you won’t know who is the demon, how many demons there are, or anything. Maybe there’s just one demon in several different forms, or maybe theirs…I don’t know, five demons. Nothing is explained in this movie, it just makes everything more confusing, and quite frankly, nonsense.
With each installment in the series, there must be a change in routine…at least a little. In Paranormal Activity 4, we are introduced to the Xbox Kinect and Skype as a form of videotaping the paranormal. The Kinect is respectfully pretty cool looking. Skype was stretching it. What’s so annoying about this is the fact that they have forgotten how to keep things simple. More cameras, more ways to film…it’s irrelevant. Paranormal Activity 1 is still the best movie because they had the one camera…because it was first person, because you didn’t know what was in the other rooms, because you couldn’t see what was happening in the house. Why is that better? In real life, you don’t know what’s going on in your house, you just know what you can see around you in the room you’re in. That’s why Paranormal Activity was a masterpiece. It connected with the audience in so many different ways. More cameras means more tackiness, more clichés, more predictability, and less scare-factor.
No, Paranormal Activity 4 was the opposite of scary. You’ve seen this four times now, you know what to expect, and they didn’t even try to use that to their advantage. We expect it, we see it in PA4. In previous installments, we would expect one thing, and get something completely unbelievable in return. When that happens, you get a scared audience. I was in a scared audience when I saw the first film, I couldn’t see the same audience reacting anywhere similarly with this film, I just can’t.
Paranormal Activity 4 had some good ideas when it came to visuals, but lacked on providing new material. The franchise’s story is progressing incredibly slowly, and this film just isn’t worth the sit-through to get to the next movie. I am now worried about the next two confirmed PA films….God help us.