I’m a big fan of these movies and not afraid to say so. The first film is classic… Sorry if you disagree but the movie works in so many ways and was made on such a low budget. The sequel I think added onto the story and moved things in the right direction. The third film sadly kind of took a step backward, loved the VHS filming, and it hands down had the best scares and visual moments of the franchise. Problem is the ending basically showing us that a cult was helping the demon with its plans was so generic and boring. Sadly Paranormal Activity 4 had to follow with this and what we get is a not so scary movie that had to add on a story element that I think was a bad move from the start.
Here we follow a 15 year old named Alex(Kathryn Newton) who we follow mainly through her lap top conversations with her friend/boy friend. When her family takes in a neighbor boy whose mother is in the hospital things go from normal to shitty very fast. Now I will say this, the actors are really strong here. I had never seen this actress before, but she is great and I think has a career ahead of her. Problem is the movie doesn’t make any sense.
The franchises cannon has basically been this: A paranormal force terrorizes a person to possess them. This happens when someone in your family makes a deal for money or anything with the demon. The deal is the demon gets to have the next male born into the family. So in the first film we see the demon take over a girl named Katie. The sequel explained why it happened. The third film showed us the demon has been haunting the family since Katie and her sister were little girls. It also showed us a cult was trying to help this demon with its goal. So the fourth film shows us basically the boy Hunter being prepared to be taken by the demon. So why would the paranormal force then haunt the family in this film? This is never explained and frankly makes no sense.
The movie doesn’t have a lot of scares, the one’s we are shown we’ve seen before. People getting pulled by an invisible force. Katie standing in door ways. Bumps and creeks heard in the dark. Unlike the third film that tried new things and scared the shit out of you, this movie seems more focused on pushing its limp storyline about the cult preparing the demons take over of Hunter than setting up scares. It seems like they felt that having two creepy little boys in the movie would be enough for audiences, it wasn’t.
Also something I found rather annoying was the heavy amount of product placement in the movie. Xbox gets major moments throughout and I noticed a lot of Pepsi. That is a minor complaint but still. I know they will continue this franchise but they need to expand on the cannon and focus more on the scares. The worst moment of the film comes at the end…. SPOILER… We basically see that everyone in the “cult” have been possessed like Katie from the first film. The final shot is of about twenty to thirty people with creepy faces. This is hands down one of the worst decisions I’ve seen in a while. It brings up too many questions for the viewers… If demons can possess that many people at once, why not just take over the world? Is it one demon possessing them all or multiple demons? If so why? If they bring this up in the fifth movie I’ll be happy… But they won’t. As a fan and defender of this franchise this movie left me simply shaking my head instead of shaking in my boots.