Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 4

I’ve seen all four of the Paranormal Activity movies in theaters.  I’m almost seeing these movies as some sort of sick inside joke to myself.  But nobody is laughing.  Especially not me, because none of them are that funny.  But I imagine I’ll keep this up, as a kind of demented, self-punishing tradition, because, well…  why not, I guess…?  I look forward to October 2016 when I’m inevitably watching Paranormal Activity in Space.

This latest installment wasn’t much different from the previous ones.  In this one, a family lives across the street from the evil people.  And the evil kid has to stay with the normal family because evil mom is faking illness and then evil starts eviling all over the place.  Lots of dramatic build up, lots of average to above-average payoffs, and lots of footage of people sleeping.

The main character is a 15-year-old girl named…  uh…  crap I really don’t remember anyone’s name from this movie other than Hunter (because they wrote it on a wall), and Katie (because she’s been in all four movies).  Anyway, she starts to suspect that spooky happenings are going on in the house ever since the evil kid showed up.  She even records these things happening, and her parents still don’t believe her.  “Haha, you kids are really good at this video stuff” says the dad.  Maybe when your daughter isn’t sleeping for 3 days, and is in a non-stop state of panic, you should consider taking in her video evidence a little more critically.

With the help of her mouth-breathing friend who I wanted to punch in the face the entire movie, she sets up four laptops all over their huge house (FACT: rich people always get the worst ghosts) and records the footage nonstop for like 15 days.  Four computers recording high definition video 24 hours a day…  I hope she has a big hard drive!

Each of these movies kind of has a new gimmick, because I mean, they are totally not just the same movie remade four times.  In the first one, the handheld camera the gimmick.  In the second one…  more cameras!   In the third one…  a panning camera!  The fourth one…  laptop cameras!  And Xbox Kinect…?!   Wait, what?  Apparently if you turn on night vision on your camera, and you have your Xbox Kinect on, you can see all of the little motion sensors all over the room.  I don’t have an Xbox (PS3 elitism represent), so I can’t test this out for myself to see if it actually works.  Nor would I want to, because apparently it also detects ghosts.  I’m never going to look at Disney Kinect Adventures the same way again…


Like all of the other Paranormal Activity movies, you’re subjected to bad acting, and plenty of it.  And lots of scenes in-between the scares where nothing happens, and you’re pretty much just watching home video footage of some rich white family.  The in-between scenes in this one actually seemed better in regards to moving the weak narrative along (compared to the others), but the scares were way worse.  And not clever at all.  They are *still* doing the slow door opening move.  C’mon!  That’s sooooo Paranormal Activity 1…!  At the very end it almost finally embraces the “have crazy stuff happen nonstop” mentality that I’ve been saying this franchise has needed in every film, but it’s honestly only like the last 30 seconds of the movie.  And it ends on an abrupt moment that once again had a guy behind me in the theater go “Awww hell naw, that’s it?  Hell naw!”

As dumb as these movies are, they are at least kind of fun.  Especially if there is some panicky person in the theater behind you.  Most people probably don’t bother seeing these, but you have to admit that you at least understand why someone would want to see them, right?  It’s dumb jump scare entertainment.  People eat that up.  Including myself, apparently.  But at least I can tell the bread is kind of stale while I’m eating it.  I’ve actually *enjoyed* the first three films of this franchise.  But this is easily the worst entry in the series of movies about ghosts getting caught on security cam footage (why didn’t FOX ever make that TV special?).  And I wouldn’t recommend it to really anybody.  But I figure that if you were planning on seeing Paranormal Activity 4, you already did over the weekend.

As much as you probably hate these movies that you’ve probably never seen (don’t worry, I do the same thing with Tyler Perry movies), they make BANK.  Did you know that all four of these movies COMBINED only cost about $15 million to make?  And guess how much all four combined have earned at the box office…  $633 million…!  Uhhhhhh, if I was a Hollywood producer, I would invest right now in the production of Paranormal Activity 5.  I’m sure they are working, as we speak, on how to make the story involve underwater cameras somehow for the next one.  Rich white people pool ghost!  Oh no!

5 out of 10

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