Has anybody in this series ever taken into account that maybe this demon just doesn’t want it’s picture taken?
It has been five years since the strange disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and now we focus our attention to a nice, suburban family that just so happens to live right across the street from these two weirdos. Yay! It’s time to break-in the newbies.
If you have been following my site ever since the heydays of 2009, you should know that I’am a big Paranormal Activity fan. When I went to see the first installment, it went down as one of my favorite movie-theater viewings of all-time and still ranks there to this day because that movie freaked me the fuck out with what it did. Then, the second one came around and that was pretty freaky as well, if a bit uneventful. And then, that third one came around last year and totally surprised me by how everything was cranked up to 11 on the scare-o-meter and never went down. Now, finally, we have the fourth installment and needless to say, it doesn’t feel like Halloween without one of these movies. Sadly, that’s the same thing people were all saying about the Saw franchise as well. Yup, it’s going there.
The fact that PA brought Catfish directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost for last year’s fright-fest, really made me curious as to what these guys had to offer and bring to the table and thankfully, they shocked us all by giving us some neat-tricks and inventive scares that we thought we’d never see in a horror movie, especially one that’s on it’s third-installment already. Here, the guys return and still do a nice job at scaring us but I don’t know, something really feels like it’s missing. One of the main reasons why this series worked in the first-place, and why the 3rd one did as well was because of how these guys allowed there to be some neat, visual-tricks that had us guessing just how the hell they pulled that off.
When somebody would go flying at the screen at a 100 mph, you would wonder how their necks didn’t really get broken; when everything in the kitchen would be floating in mid-air, you wondered just how the hell that even came-about and everything was able to just stay there; and whenever somebody was able to flat in the air, without there looking like there was a bunch of cable-wires actually holding them up, you’d get it in your mind that it looks incredibly hard to pull-off and required a crap-ton of skill. In this movie, all of those wonders and questions seem to go right down the drain as the film constantly falls back-on such tricks like a chair moving, or a cover being taken off of somebody, or a door creaking open. This shit is still a little freaky just because of the tension involved, but when you get right down to it, there’s nothing new or original we haven’t seen before.
That’s probably one of my biggest problems with this flick here is that I never felt like any of the scares really got me and made me feel like I was in a dangerous place throughout the whole movie. Maybe you can blame that on the whole movie series itself as we all know when a person is going to pop in front of the camera for a sneaky appearance, or whenever a loud noise is going to go “bam!” right in front of the screen, so all of those elements of surprise sort of get lost in the shuffle. Did I just jump at the scares? Of course I did, but you probably would too, if you’re just staring at a screen for a total of 30 seconds waiting for something crazy to happen and eventually does, much to your surprise.
Another element of this movie that didn’t really come as a surprise to me was the dumb-assed characters, that are sadly, well-performed by everybody involved. I don’t know where and I don’t know how, but I have seen the girl here who plays the teen protagonist (Kathryn Newton), and she actually took me off-guard by how good she is. Granted, she’s a little too familiar and good-looking to be taken seriously as a real, angsty teen going through this whole paranormal problem, but she has a lot of charm to her and feels like the type of girl you want to live, when it’s all said and done. However, all of her scenes get stolen by her boy-toy, played by Matt Shively, and just adds so much fun and humor to every scene that he’s in, that I never wanted to see the guy go. These two characters aren’t as stupid as you would expect them to be, but I can’t say that about the parents who are pretty much your typical, disapproving parents that don’t believe in any of this crazy shit, no matter how crazy it actually gets. Also, that mom deserved all of the shit got because she was the dumb-ass who lets the kid stay in the house with them and gives the comme-ci, comme-ca reason as to, “Well, he doesn’t have anywhere else to go so why not?” What the fuck, mom!??! Next time I’m stranded, I’m going right to her house and making myself a sandwich.
When it comes right down to it, even though this installment isn’t the best out of the whole series, it’s still as much fun as you’d expect it to be. Yeah, the scares are obvious and border-line predictable by now, but they’re still fun to be apart of, especially when you have a crazy crowd like the one I’ve been in for the past 4 years when I go to see these movies. Everybody’s hootin’, hollerin’, and jumpin’ all over the place that it’s almost torture to yourself to hide a smile or chuckle because you’ll be having that much fun with this movie. Also, if you doubt me, just you wait until those last 5 minutes where everything comes full-circle and all hell breaks loose, like we always love from this series. Yeah yeah yeah!
Consensus: Though it’s definitely the most unoriginal and blandest entry of the whole series, PA 4 still has fun with itself in terms of scares, chills, and overall fun atmosphere that never ceases to stop me from having a good olde time. PA 5? I think so. Let’s just hope they try some new, cool stuff this time around.