Rather than make you go back through all my posts to find out what I thought of the other installments in the Paranormal Activity franchise, I’ll try to quickly recap my thoughts on the previous films. I found the original movie to be like a roller coaster, in that you go into it wanting to be scared, prepared to be scared, and once the “ride” is over, you don’t think too much about it, so long as you got what you were looking for. It’s very subtle in the scares that it creates, and I find it to be quite enjoyable, despite losing some of its charm on repeat viewings. Paranormal Activity 2 really just tried to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, and rather than trying anything new, just tried to heighten what the first film already did, and it wasn’t all that successful at that. Paranormal Activity 3 was a prequel, and the found footage angle was a little bit more believable, and there were a couple of good scare gags in it and brought an interesting angle to justify why all of this stuff was happening. I was generally pretty interested in the movies as a whole, but hearing early reviews of the fourth film quelled any interest I had in seeing it, and it’s the first installment I didn’t see in theaters. Now that it’s out on home video, I figured that the least I could do was spend 90 minutes on my couch watching it, so I did. This is what happened.
Pretty sure this was the only gag even attempted to be done practically. What a bunch of dopes.
Taking place 5 years after PA2, we see a family with a tween daughter and a 5 year old adopted son. This family has a new neighbor move in across the street, and that family also has a 5 year old son. The neighbor son acts like a super creep and keeps showing up at the family’s house with an adopted son. Would you believe that then some spooky things start happening? BELIEVE IT, BROS. Dark figures and shadows and the sounds of things moving, all that good stuff. When neighbor mom gets “sick”, the neighbor 5 year old stays with the main family, and things get even more intense. After a few days, the “sick” mom returns to living across the street, and we find out it’s Katie (Featherstone) from the first two movies! Oh no! When the adopted son is led to her house, he returns a changed little boy. He keeps insisting that his name is actually Hunter, which was the name of the baby Katie took from her sister in PA2. In a scene where this little boy is sucked under the water of his bathtub for seemingly minutes, he comes up for air but acts differently. We’re to assume that some sort of demon or something has entered his body, I guess? Anyways, the family gets the sense that shit is weird and they eventually run across the street to see what the fuck is going on and then the whole family is confronted in the backyard by a bunch of witch demon weirdos or something. WOW COOL GUYS!
A poor man’s planetarium?
FUCK THIS MOVIE. I kept searching for something to like about this movie, ANYTHING to like about it, and keep coming up short. All of the scares were predictable, none of the characters were interesting or enjoyable, and a lot of shit didn’t make sense. Did we ever find out why Katie has a new son living with her? Is this another stolen child? Do we know what the fuck has happened int he 5 years since Katie kidnapped Hunter and how he could have ended up with a different family? It’s entirely possible that this information was given to us at some point in the movie and I just didn’t pay any attention to it. The biggest problem I have with both this and Paranormal Activity 2 is that there’s really no reason any of this shit needs to be happening to one family exclusively. There isn’t any sort of mythology to how all of these characters are connected, or at least why it needs to be these characters. The story is so simple, that there are spooky things happening to a family and they want to investigate those spooky things, that every different installment could have been a different family or a different house and each time things could have been done differently. Instead, it’s just a repetition of the same shit we’ve seen over and over again with one person who we recognize and still, after four movies, we have very little understanding of why most of this shit is happening and what will happen next. Correct me if I’m wrong, but PA3 showed some witches in the family of Katie from PA gaining wealth by offering up the next son born into the family, and that’s the baby kidnapped in PA2? WHO FUCKING CARES. I’d almost rather have this series be something like A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, in that the original story didn’t have more material so the location got moved. Granted, I have no idea what that Ghosts of Georgia bullshit is about, but there’s still absolutely no reason to have to meet new families with every installment, only for the last 5 minutes to used to vaguely tie into the previous film.
Nice to see you, Katie! Looking good! Have you lost weight?
I guess something that I should point out that isn’t necessarily good, but is interesting, is that it was rated R and there is almost no violence in it at all. There are a few quick segments that are obviously CGI things, but for a movie to get an R rating based mostly on “some violence/terror” is a nice change to mostly just gross out films. Also, there’s one scene where the daughter’s boyfriend turns off the lights in the living room and turns on the nightvision on his camera, which was then able to show all of the infrared dots being projected out of the XBox Kinect that at least looked kind of neat. The problem was that you then immediately knew that this “discovery” of dots being projected everywhere was such a lame gimmick, you knew that any time the movie cut to that shot, they were going to try to scare you. Along with that, the camera used in that room would sometimes switch from nightvision being on to quickly switching off when the lights were turned on. That’s not how nightvision works. It’s either on or it’s off. If you switched the lights on and nightvision was still on, everything would just looked green and washed out. How do I know that? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SCENE LATER ON IN THE MOVIE. WHAT THE FUCK, GUYS?! Don’t you have anyone looking into this shit? You’re supposed to be filmmakers. With all found footage movies, especially this one, the big problem is the justification of why the characters are filming these things and how to convince the audience that it makes sense and that it’s possible for that to happen. The original movie was simple, because it was a couple who say they bought the camera specifically to film the weird happenings. The second movie was a little bit more of a stretch in that they were using security cameras, but, okay, whatever, and the third movie made SOME sense because the guy was a camera man and made his own devices to film the weird stuff. The person doing most of the filming, the daughter’s boyfriend, just fucking films everything for no real reason. He also taps into the webcams on all of the computers in the house to capture footage that way? FUUUUUUUUCK THAAAAAAAAT. Goddammit you guys, this movie fucking sucked. If anything, we can hope that this franchise follows the trend in that the odd numbered installments are good and the even numbered ones suck, because then at least this year’s Paranormal Activity 5 might have something worth watching.
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