Anybody who is anybody has at least heard of the “Paranormal Activity” films, if they haven’t seen them as well. This is because the first film created such an extreme amount of buzz that the story was allowed to expand on with seemingly countless sequels. These sequels have been the butt of the joke for a number of parody films and plenty of critics are growing immensely tired of them as well. The fourth installment, “Paranormal Activity 4” came out to theaters towards the end of 2012, and will be releasing on DVD and Blu-Ray soon.
To give you a recap of what happened in the previous movies story-wise, the second film took place at the same time as the first, now that is an interesting approach for a sequel, and I have to give that credit. [Spoiler Alert]It ended with demonic Katie kidnapping her sister’s son, Hunter. The third film was a prequel set back when Katie and her Sister lived in the house that was set on fire, as mentioned in the first movie, and gave us a glimpse at a coven that would be mentioned slightly in the fourth. [End Spoiler]
The fourth takes place four years after the events of the first and second film, with a family that has moved into the house seen in the second movie. While at the house, they take in a strange boy named Robbie (Brady Allen) when his mother is sent to the hospital, apparently ill. Obviously, the audience is going to think this boy is Hunter, but you might begin to question yourself later down the road. Robbie becomes fast friends with Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp), the other boy in the house, and that is when strange things begin to happen and Alex (Kathryn Newton) sets out to find out exactly what it is.
If you have seen just one of these movies, then you get the overall idea for the vibe of the series as a whole. Basically speaking, there is something in the house, so a family decides to set up a number of video cameras around the house to catch the thing in action. They will also note that each movie is very slow and practically shows nothing, especially for the first movie. Finally, each one will award you with a build-up of suspense that leads to a captivating end. More so, the end of the sequels tend to leave it open for yet another sequel, and yes, there is going to be a “Paranormal Activity 5” later this year. The stories, however similar, do have their own respected story that has gotten clearer as to where they are headed to in future films, but it is still not the best story in the world.
Interestingly enough, they did add some interesting aspects to the whole idea of video cameras, including a video calling service like Skype and Xbox Kinect. To be perfectly honest, the Kinect looked very cool, and it was a really interesting choice, but when you think about it, a lot of people may be rolling their eyes. The same goes for Skype, because the movie may be over-complicating matters, making it even more unbelievable as the story develops.
So once again, we have to face the question of “is it scary”? Not as much as it wished it was. It was more creepy and weird than it was scary. A majority of the time, it wasn’t paranormal activity, but physical activity of a strange child named Robbie. Sure, it had its moments of surprise and intrigue, but it has completely lost track of the direction the first amazingly held. A lot of people complained at how slow the first film was, and that it barely showed anything, but that was what made it so great in the first place. It wasn’t trying to do what others did, it was trying to implant an idea, and not get too unrealistic at the same time, and it achieved that through sound and legends. Nothing will ever beat the first film because it just seems like they are doing their own thing and collecting the profits.
The story is slightly interesting, but in the end, it fails to get to the point quick enough. You can’t have the main story arc of the series be mentioned only towards the end, that will make the series last forever, and it really will get old. No one will want to see it because even the fans will get exhausted from the same thing over and over. If they just expanded on the actual story throughout the movie, then it would probably be critiqued a little higher than it has thus far.
“Paranormal Activity 4” was slightly better than the third, as the third didn’t make a whole lot of sense as the story was all over the place, but this was structured more properly, it made a lot more sense, had interesting concepts, and had another ending reeling the audience in for a fifth installment. So were all of the other films leading up to this as the trailers suggested? Well yes, but it is clearly leading up to more.
Check out “Paranormal Activity 4” when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Jan. 29!
As a side note, the movie did one thing remarkably well. They created scenes specifically for the trailer that are not shown in the film. That way, they were able to give the audience an idea of what the movie will be about, and bluff how they will scare you, eliminating any of the gimmicks seen in the trailer (like the shadow of the woman behind Alex).