Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 - Movie Review

You most likely fall into one of two camps when it comes to the Paranormal Activity series. You either can't stand them and wonder why they exist, or you just can't get enough of the franchise that currently reigns as king of the found footage sub-genre of horror films. As for me, I enjoy the series and have been looking forward to what directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman have in store for us now.

PA4 (that's what the cool kids call it!) focuses on a teenage girl named Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her family which includes her little brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp) and her parents who are struggling to hold together their marriage. Alex loves recording everything she can with her phone, laptop, camera, or whatever recording device she can find which allows for the whole found footage thing to continue.

Things take a turn for the weird when Alex's family starts receiving visits from Robbie, the new little neighbor boy from across the street who ends up living with them temporarily (I know, right?) when his mom Katie (Yes, that Katie!) seemingly falls ill and is taken to the hospital. Of course this seems really strange, but Alex's mom is pretty adamant about wanting him in the house so everyone just rolls with it.

Before you know it, the family starts hearing thuds upstairs, knives start disappearing, and Alex starts floating above her bed while she's sleeping (pictured below). With the help of her friend Ben (Matt Shively), who is a computer whiz that wants to be more than friends, Alex sets up cameras throughout the house so the audience can have lots of various perspectives of all the ensuing and inevitable activity that we've been waiting for. Ben even puts together a cool night vision setup (which doubles as an Xbox Kinect product placement!) so they can try and actually see whatever paranormal thing is causing all the activity.

As usual, the audience gets to see a little of what has happened in the previous movies so everyone is brought up to speed on who this Katie person is and why things are going bump in the night. After that, its time get into all of the new footage that has been "found" and made public for some reason as a major motion picture. If you've watched the other three movies, you're definitely good to go and anyone who is starting with number 4 will still have a pretty good idea of what's going on without too much trouble. Either way, its not too hard to figure out when to jump out of your seat from a door slamming or a supernatural demon snapping someone's spine, right?

If you want to talk about technical stuff and how the movie was made, there really isn't much to it, although the creative team does manage to find some new and interesting ways to set up cameras rather than just always letting it be someone walking around with one in their hand. What really sells this movie, and has been the formula for each installment is not blockbuster special effects, or Oscar caliber acting performances, but the way they build the intensity and anticipation leading into those moments that are set up to scare the crap out of everyone.

One thing that is very clear about the Paranormal Activity movies is that you either really like them or you want to have nothing to do with them whatsoever. I happen to fall into the camp that enjoys watching them and look forward to each new installment. I suppose that means I'm on "Team Katie"...or something. Honestly, there isn't a whole lot to these movies, its just some good, scary entertainment that is best enjoyed in a crowded theater with lots of people screaming, jumping, and generally freaking out when all the cool stuff happens.

1 comment :

  1. I haven't watched P3 yet, but they're all on Netflix.


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