PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (2012)
It is rare to find a truly scary film these days. I mean really, you usually end up with poor cats being thrown at the camera (with an accompanying noise of some kind) or you just get tons of violence (the saw franchise coming to mind). Still, every once and a while, usually of the beaten path, a no name film maker comes to the fore front of the genre with a fantastic creepy and unsettling adventure.
Enter the Paranormal Activity films.
I remember watching the first and feeling my skin crawl. Those little shivers that leave bumps of the goose variety in their wake. The second I saw in theatre and the absolute dread and fear that rocked through the crowd was a blast, heck I even enjoyed some of the cool ideas and tricks of the 3rd.
So I went to see 4, and well, as I feared... There was no fear. The magic is gone folks. G-O-N-E gone.
Plot is, possessed woman, and child from the second instalment (who is sworn over to a demon as a result of a family oath, or such) move in next door to a plucky teen heroine was of course gets creeped out as creepy things happen. Then it seems the demon woman and the young boy have decided to take her young brother as their own. And here we go...
Okay, first, there were a few good things here. The way the incorporate the Kinect (Xbox for those of you that do not game), using the tracing lights and some night vision for a couple of cool effects. The acting is pretty darn good. The young teen in the lead is pretty talented, as is her so cool boyfriend. They have some very real and fun dialogue. Their are a few laughs, and some tension here and there... but the bad just out weighs the good. The movie is just plain slow. Really nothing happens. Other than a few little things that might get a jump but serve no real "built the dread" function. The deaths when they come are hardly that affecting because we hardly give a kaka about them. I mean ya he had a few funny lines, but do I care he is now dead? No.
There is stupid too. For instance. One main trick in the film is the girl having her boyfriend set up the laptops in the house to always record. So that even if the computer is off, it is still watching. Two major, huge, gigantic, issues with that. No one leaves their laptops open all the time. You close the lid. And, lastly, this trick means that she has to take her laptop with her wherever she goes... outside... investigating... through a window lol, no joke, she brings the computer with her. Even turns it towards the enemy a couple of times so we can get a good look.
Nope. I think they just ran out of ideas. Here's a concept, use what works, stop trying to come up with some super clever/notsomuch way of filming these things. Cameras, security, a few handhelds, all good.
And I know with the money these movies continue to make we will see more, and I'm fine with that. The scares I got form the first 3 are worth a couple mulligans... but it is time to either explain the damn cult, or move the freak on people. New story, new characters, new possession. There, done.
Bottom line. Maybe a couple jump scares, and a pretty decent last ten minutes do not make up for the hour plus of boredom you will not get back.
Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars
horror scale 2 out of 5 stars
Hope you all find many awesome ways to enjoy your impending Halloweens...
-Chuck B. Boonsweet