Paranormal Activity 4 Review – Save Your Money… You’ve Seen This Before.
I’ve seen each release of the Paranormal Activity franchise in the theater on opening night. The initial film I had to drive over an hour and sat in a sold out theater at midnight while getting the crap scared out of me. Parts two and three were “eh”, and now that we’re on part 4, I think it’s time to throw in the towel.
“All the activity has lead up to this” was one tagline for Paranormal Activity 4, and while I guess I sort of agree with that statement, the film didn’t really live up to that promise. I mean, sure, we get a continuation of the story that started in Paranormal Activity, and also get some characters back that we missed… but good lord, the execution of this movie is just everything that we’ve seen before. Nope, let me rephrase. Paranormal Activity 4 uses the same scare tactics that its predecessors used, but does it poorly and leaves out the actual scary parts.
Remember the small stuff in Paranormal Activity that made it so scary? The lights turning off and on while Katie and Micha slept, the doors opening and closing, the blankets falling off of the sleeping couple at night? Remember how the actual thing that was causing the activity was never shown except as footprints in baby powder, or through a possessed Katie?
Well, somewhere along the line the directors of Paranormal Activity 4 decided that it would be a great idea to let us “see” the thing causing the haunting, and I’m sorry, but this just made everything less scary. There was also way too much resting on “big scares”, and the subtly of the franchise (which is what made it great to begin with) is just gone.
Also, what the heck is up with the last two films showing things in the trailers that never make it to the final cut? I’m sorry, but the trailer for Paranormal Activity 4 was scarier than the actual film itself. This time, the story takes place with an entirely new family in Nevada. Strange things start to happen with the creepy neighbor boy has to come and stay with said family, and the teenage daughter is right there with her cell phone, web cam, and video camera to capture everything for posterity.
The little boy that played Wyatt was so freaking adorable that I just wanted to squeeze him. Kathryn Newton (Alex – the teenage daughter) was also great. She was incredibly believable in her role and I never once found myself thinking that a teenage wouldn’t do the things that Alex did. By the end of the movie I was rooting for her, even though she breaks several horror movie rules.
I guess I’ve come to expect more from the Paranormal Activity Franchise, which probably isn’t fair since the films just get progressively less scary with each installment. The scares that did happen were predictable, and nearly recycled from the other three Paranormal Activity films. In addition to the “been there, done that” vibe, Paranormal Activity 4 caused some major confusion to the story arc that was set up in the first three movies, and also had an ending that made me roll my eyes and throw my hands up in frustration.
Oh, and also, it has to be the most vomit inducing found footage movie since The Blair Witch Project. Let me tell you, if you get motion sickness even a little bit, this film will mess you up. I drugged myself up with motion sickness pills before the start, knowing that I’m sensitive to the shaky camera work, and even with dramamine pumping through my system, I still found myself having to look away every so often.
Overall, Paranormal Activity 4 lacks any real scares that will stick with you the way the scares in the initial film did. If you’re looking for a horror movie to watch for the Halloween season, I would stay clear of this one and rent a classic.
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