PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4
Directors:Henry Joost, Ariel Shulman,
Starring: Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Katie Featherston
Let’s do a quick recap. A possessed Katie (Featherston) was last seen, according to video camera footage, killing her boyfriend Micah, sister Kristi, her brother-in-law, and kidnapping her nephew Hunter. Katie and Hunter have not been seen since that night in California in 2006. Paranormal Activity 4 picks up in 2011 in Nevada. A little boy named Robbie is seen walking the streets alone and hanging out by himself in neighbor’s tree houses. There seems to be some sort of family emergency with Robbie’s mom that forces him to spend some time living with the family across the street. Due to the weirdness, the audience is supposed to believe that Robbie is Hunter and his mom must be Katie.
The family seems to welcome Robbie with open arms. Alex (Newton) is the teenage daughter with a goofy and somewhat horny boyfriend, Ben (Shively). Alex’s brother Wyatt is Robbie’s age so they seem to get along together quite well by playing games in Wyatt’s bedroom or playing out in the tree house. Alex and Ben are the types of young lovers that are constantly talking to each other on the phone or Skyping. Alex is convinced that ever since Robbie moved in there is an eerie presence and feeling in the house that seems to be getting worse. Ben sets up the cameras on their various laptops and places them around the house to record what might be happening at all hours of the day and night. Alex and Ben spend many hours watching the footage as things start to go bump in the night. Wyatt seems to be acting stranger and stranger under Robbie’s influence. To make matters worse, bizarre happenings seem to be going on over at Robbie’s house. Alex goes to investigate and Robbie’s mom appears out of nowhere and is revealed to be Katie.
The original Paranormal Activity was groundbreaking in the way of providing scares through the idea of “found footage”. The audience would watch video camera footage and wait for something to happen in the background. Now that we are onto the fourth movie in a series the idea is not original anymore. The filmmakers are left trying to drum up scares in a new and original way while keeping the feel of what made the original so successful. I give the series credit for continuing the same story through all four movies. We are still learning more about the history of Katie and Hunter. The mythology aspect that we learned about in the third movie is touched upon loosely here but not fully woven into the plot. Neither movies took the time to develop this mythology plot line. Maybe that will be how the whole series will wrap with part 5 or 6 or 7.
Is the movie scary? I wanted some bigger scares and jumps in the middle. With all of the these movies, the big scares come in the grand finale. The end definitely delivers in a big way. Once the audience knows it is coming, you just cringe in your seat as you wait to see how the next victim is going to go. We did not have a very full house when we saw it, but there were plenty of screams to fill the theater. Like the Saw movies, we seem to be getting a new entry in this story each Halloween. I would sit through Paranormal Activity 5, but I sure hope that it would be the last in the series. Maybe if I am lucky, they probe into the mythology aspect and wrap it up in a big way.
RATING: ** 1/2 (2.5 out of 5 stars)