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Paranormal Activity 4 Review
By Darrin Jones / October 19

Ingredients: If you liked Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, and Paranormal Activity 3, then you will...ugh, whatever.

Paranormal Activity 4 -- once again resisting convention by not having it’s title anywhere in the movie -- is another unnecessary sequel in what could’ve been a decent franchise that at least had some personality but now is blander then tapioca. This time around, an unassuming family takes in a socially awkward neighborhood child after the boy’s mother has an accident. Things take a turn for the spooky when unexplained events begin happening around the house and only the daughter, Alex (as played by Kathryn Netwon), seems to notice it. Things get worse as the paranormal activity starts to settle around Alex’s little brother. Can Alex save her brother from the strange happenings and uncover the truth about what’s behind it all? Spoiler, no, she can’t.   

In this one, the found-footage schtick is stretched a bit too far. While the idea of spying on an entire family at all times by converting their various computers into video recorders is absurd, the fact that no one seems to EVER look at the spooky footage is a huge plot hole. The point of Paranormal Activity 1 and 2 was stressing that there are small, unnoticed events happening and the only way anyone becomes aware of it is through video taping it. But that’s all thrown out the window when there’s obvious signs of paranormal activity that no one is aware of because they don’t look at the stupid recordings!

The previous installments were about these unsuspecting people slowly realizing their lives are being terrorized by supernatural means, and the audience got to watch this realization. Here, everything that happens is clearly just for the audiences’ benefit and the characters are nothing more then potential rag-dolls to be tossed around when the movie needs a climactic ending. It’s boring, tedious and breaks the immersion.

The characters were a complete waste of time. The mother and father don’t do anything -- except for offer up jump-scare fodder -- and the daughter tells the audience the point of the movie somewhere around the half-way point. After that, it’s just waiting for the inevitable. Oh, and watching creepy kids be creepy. The filmmakers seem to have really wanted to remake The Omen or The Shinning but without actually putting any effort into it.

Paranormal Activity 4 ends like all lackluster found-footage horror movies nowadays. A shaky, confusing mess that neither wraps up the story or gives a satisfying conclusion. It’s like Purgatory. Sure it could’ve been worse and the few good moments it has are pretty good but you can’t muster up too much enthusiasm when you know they’ve set themselves up for a disappointing ending. If you absolutely have to know what happens to poorly written characters that vaguely have some connection the previous Paranormal Activity movies, you might enjoy this one. Otherwise, I recommend seeing Sinister if you haven’t already; it’s an actual horror movie, you know, for grownups.

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