Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

**This review contains spoilers**

Following the conclusion of Paranormal Activity 2, Hunter’s mother, Kristi is dead after an attack from her sister, Katie (Katie Featherston). After an adoption and Katie’s disappearance, Hunter’s name is changed to Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp). The Nelson’s embrace Wyatt, and his big sister, Alex Nelson (Kathyrn Newton) is determined to protect Wyatt from any danger. The Nelson’s quiet suburban lifestyle takes a turn for the worst, when Katie’s son, Robbie (Brady Allen) enters the picture. Mrs. Nelson decides to invite Robbie to live with the family during his mother’s absence.

But Robbie’s strange mannerisms and unnatural infatuation with an invisible friend (it’s Toby, the invisible demon from the previous films) concerns Alex.During a series of late night web cam sessions, Alex and her boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively) slowly unravel a paranormal conspiracy surrounding Robbie. Alex tries to explain the bizarre situation to her parents, but they refuse to listen, but Alex will have to come up with a solution soon. When Katie returns, she takes Robbie, but Katie and Toby are targeting Wyatt as their next victim, and Katie won’t stop until her nephew rejoins the family.

Well, as usual the acting is mediocre. Brady Allen has a few moments as the creepy and quiet demon child, but he couldn’t save this cast. Alex and Ben are the most annoying characters in the entire Paranormal Activity franchise, easily. Newton is the typical airheaded teenage blonde, and Shively is the douchebag boyfriend, who tries way too hard to be cool.

 And Paranormal Activity sticks to the same formula AGAIN: an opening that’ll hook you into the story, 45-50 minutes of boring web cam/security camera footage bullshit, the last ten or fifteen minutes are full of suspense, and of course, they end the movie with a “demon attack” cliffhanger. It’s the same old shit all over again, and it was a huge letdown for me, because you know what they’re going for, once you catch on to the routine.

Looking for a SHOCKING return in PA 4? Don’t hold your breath, because instead of introducing another new character with some real significance, they decide to bring back Katie instead. Seriously? Out of all the people to bring back, you pick fucking Katie??? We already know enough major details about Katie, and let’s be honest, she’s not the most interesting or engaging character in the franchise.

Paranormal Activity continues to milk a very thin and weak premise. The story is at a standstill after the FOURTH film. Sorry, but this is just unacceptable. I didn’t love the movie, but Part 3 worked as a prequel, because we learned about Katie and Kristi’s grandmother, and their lives as children. This was a BIG step, because apparently, Katie and Kristi’s grandmother is the mastermind behind the whole witch cult/demonic conspiracy. Part 4 is a prequel to Part 2, but we already know 90% of the details in this film, because previous films explained and revealed the “secrets.” Again, we’re in the fourth film for the PA franchise, and the writers are STILL giving us the runaround bullshit.

Also, the ending is suspenseful, BUT am I the only one, who noticed the similarities between this ending and the ending in PA 3? At the end of PA 3, Toby, the grandmother, and her witch followers attacked and killed the people, who posed a threat to the master plan. Well, at the end of PA 4, Toby attacks Alex’s father, Toby kills her mother, and as she tries to rescue Wyatt, Alex is cornered by a group of possessed women, and a demonized Katie eventually attacks her to end the movie. Just watch both endings from both films, and you’ll see what I’m talking about, because it’s almost impossible to ignore the connections.  

Yeah, as usual, I’ll give this Paranormal film credit for the suspenseful finale, but that doesn’t make up for the 40+ minutes of boredom before the ending. Paranormal Activity 4 is easily the weakest film in this franchise, and the writing is beyond lazy here. For the most part, it’s a very boring and tedious film to sit through, and Katie’s return was very underwhelming and disappointing. Plus, maybe it did something for other PA fans, but I couldn’t stand the glow in the dark X Box Kinect garbage. The directors developed a raging hard-on for the glow in the dark X Box Kinect scenes, and the wow-factor fades away after the first time, because they really ran this gimmick into the ground. This is my first (and probably won’t be the last) PA viewing experience from home, and I’m glad I didn’t waste the time or money to watch this piece of shit in a theater.

Final Rating: 1/10

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