Review: Paranormal Activity 4

“All the activity has led to this”? Well that’s just unfortunate really.

Following the events of Paranormal Activity 2 and after Katie and young Hunter disappeared, we follow another family, their daughter Alex, her boyfriend and her younger brother Wyatt. You guessed it, paranormal activity starts happening around their house, around the same time a mysterious young boy and his mother move in across the street.

My biggest problem with this film, asides the total lack of scares, is that its the exact same plotting as the third film. We have the same set up; there’s nothing wrong until a ceiling light wobbles, there’s constant pranks by the characters, demons being obsessed with children’s toys, replace two young girls with two young boys, and generally nothing happening for the first hour.
Yes, the fourth film takes an hour (fifty-three minutes exactly) before anything actually “paranormal” happens. Of a ninety-six minute run time.

Now we are set in “modern day”, this house is festooned with laptops. It is established early on that these laptops record everything their web cameras film and they film all the time (no sleep mode for these computers) so they hide them about the house to film the activity. Funny how they never view the footage, like when Alex is levitated off the bed.

Personal gripe about horror films nowadays. Consider: when you are in pitch darkness and are carrying a laptop with you (just go with it) do you run through the dark with the screen illuminating your beautiful face? No. No one would do that! You would turn the screen around to light your surroundings, you see less with a big bright light in your face! It is the equivalent of pointing the flashlight into your face.

You will see that this film made me ask all the wrong questions under the conditions of a badly made movie. There are, for the first time in the series, inconsistencies with the recorded footage. A time stamp in the corner of the screen normally represents a recording, but PA4 decides to sometimes remove the stamp… for no reason. This and sudden jump cuts, not even blurring, static cuts, just an edit that saves a character the time of walking across a room.

The plot goes absolutely nowhere since Paranormal Activity 3 since it spends so much time retreading the same “scare” beats and setup. This series is now worse than the Saw films.

There’s so little to actually say about this film, though it does make the third part appear good.

Additional Marshmallows: I didn’t even talk about the Xbox Kinnect gimmick, which is conveniently the meeting spot for the ghosts.

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