“Paranormal Activity 4″ Movie Review
Taking place a few years after the events of Paranormal Activity 2, the fourth installment in the terrifying horror franchise follows Alex (Katherine Newton) and her family who begin experiencing strange events since the arrival of new neighbors, a young boy, Robbie, and his mother. When Robbie’s mother is mysteriously taken to the hospital, Alex’s family allows him to stay with them, causing the strange occurrences to escalate.
Let me start out by saying that I am a HUGE fan of the Paranormal Activity series. I loved all three films and embraced the idea of a fourth one. I was very upset when I found out the plot of PA4, as I hoped it would be a direct sequel to PA3, or even follow Ali and Martine from PA2. Unfortunately, we are introduced to an entirely new and not very interesting family.
Of all the new characters, Alex’s boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively), was the most interesting and the most enjoyable to watch. Alex was fine in the beginning, but slowly became more annoying as the film progressed, making me even less interested in her story. She is only enjoyable when she is with Ben, because of the great chemistry they have.
Alex’s mother and father are both dull, uninteresting, and annoyingly oblivious to the supernatural occurrences. One of my least favorite things in horror movies is when parents, or anyone for that matter, refuse to accept that something weird is happening. It is an attempt to make us like the character trying to persuade them more, but I just end up liking the character who doesn’t believe less. I mean, a giant chandelier falls, almost killing your daughter? Obviously just the wind or a faulty ceiling. And disappearing knives? Happens all the time, no big deal.
Another problem with PA4 is that it asks more questions than it answers. In fact, it doesn’t any questions at all. Nothing about witches. Nothing about a deal with a demon. That’s why the film should’ve gone back to Ali. She was suspicious enough about it all before her parents were brutally murdered and her infant brother was kidnapped. There has to be a reason that she wasn’t killed off with her family. They must be planning to have her in the series again. Let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later.
Similar to the first three, Paranormal Activity 4 is a slow-burner. But instead of keeping our interest throughout, the film drags and becomes ‘keep-checking-my-watch’ boring. Eventually things begin to pick up, but by that point, it’s lost our attention. The first half of a movie is like a first impression, and no matter what, you can’t change a first impression.
The addition of the Kinect was very cool and unsettling (not as much as the fan-cam from PA3 though). It also made sense that teenagers were interested in the paranormal activity and wanted to record it, but eventually your like, “That camera can’t be helping you run faster.”
The final scenes were moderately creepy and I certainly jumped a few times, but they just left us hanging. The end left so many unanswered questions that it’ll be hard to answer them all in a fifth installment without overwhelming us with information.
In the end, Paranormal Activity 4 failed to leave an impact as strong as its predecessors. I didn’t run straight home and turn on all the lights. The scares didn’t pop into my mind during late night trips to the bathroom. PA4 is a huge step back for the series. Even though I’ll still go see each and every one in theaters, I can’t say I look forward to the sequels.
Paranormal Activity 4
Directed by: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Written by: Christopher Landon
Starring: Kathryn Newton and Matt Shively
Run Time: 1 Hour and 28 Minutes
MPAA Rating: R for language and some violence/terror
My Rating: 3.5/10
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