Matt’s Review: ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ Has a Brilliant Payoff, But the Same Scares and Tired AnticsBy
This review probably won’t matter to many of you — Paranormal Activity 4 is going to make a boat load of money regardless of my opinion of it. This fourth chapter in some effect completes the thin story weaved through these films. But, I still would not put it past Hollywood to make a fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth. Paranormal Activity 4 has many of the same scares we are used to, and it gets tiring through the duration, but a fantastic finish making it all worth it.
The film picks up with a new family living in suburbia dealing with more ghostly shenanigans after a strange boy and his mother move in across the street. The boy Robbie ends up staying with the family when his mom goes to the hospital sick. During Robbie’s stay, the house begins to hiccup danger, the behavior of the adopted son Wyatt mysteriously changes, and the teen daughter Alex tries to convince everyone of what is going on.
Paranormal Activity 4 is boring for the most part, and I hate the unease creepy movies like this bring. It finishes strong, but getting there is a mildly painful task. We’ve seen all the gimmicks and tricks of this franchise in three films. We already know what is coming scanning the mundane details of the screen looking for a break in the reality — the creative team behind Paranormal Activity 4 didn’t come up with much to make this entry feel fresh. The daytime scenes try so hard to ‘build’ these characters, but really, for what? We know the focus is the possession, yet all these films have spent such little time developing the most important story line. I get leaving pieces a mystery, but over the course of four films, I feel cheated, like I should know more.
The most annoying piece about this project is for the third straight film, the filmmakers try to make the audience believe that no one else besides our main character can figure out what’s going on. I mean, there is video evidence of all this crazy crap going on, yet everyone thinks Alex has lost her marbles. The dad brushes it off early, but he only sees a swoosh of darkness across the screen. But when the ghosts get crazy, like we all know they do, why wouldn’t anyone dig a bit to check what is really going on? These families are so naive, it’s insulting to the audience that no one else is on board with the idea of paranormal activity, especially considering the absolute unbelievable, explainable things that happen. Oh, and it’s all on tape, damning, irrefutable evidence.
This fourth is much more commercialized than any of the other three as well. The frame is loaded with Apple computers, iPhones, XBOX Kinect, or other well placed consumer products. It’s apparent enough to be distracting.
Overall, this fourth film is a worthy investment if you’ve dedicated time to the first three. The fresh appeal of the first two is missing, the tension strung through the entire third film is missing, but Paranormal Activity 4 has a hauntingly satisfying ending. This song and dance has definitely run its course shown by fits of boredom waiting for the inevitable and terrifying climax.
What Should You Do? See it in the theater to get the full experience (unless people talk or act stupid to ruin the showing).