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Paranormal Activity 4




Reviewer: Luke Walkley

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Stars:  Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton

Released: 17th October 2012

Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman return to our cinema screens with the fourth instalment of the Paranormal Activity franchise.

5 Years after the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, a family experience a number of strange unexplained events when a new neighbour and her mysterious child move in across the road. When the child’s mother is taken to hospital for a few days, Robbie, the small child, stays with Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her family. Alex, already uncomfortable with the child, takes to filming the events in the house with her friend Ben.

Paranormal Activity has been a Box-Office hit, calling out the horror junkies time and time again with its hand held and surveillance style of film making and applying it to an environment that the audience can relate to, a family home.

The emphasis has shifted somewhat in the style of film making, the number of long, stationary time lapse scenes have been cut down and replaced with a more personal style in which Alex carries her laptop or phone and speaks directly into the camera to Ben. However, if something isn’t broke why fix it? Although the directors have changed the emphasis somewhat, the overall feel of the film is still the same as it’s money making predecessors. This lack of risk taking feels forced however by those higher up churning out another film for it’s money making potential.

This is the case for a lot of sequels, however the moneymaking intentions of Paranormal Activity 4 are so blatant and outrageous it borders on insulting that they would charge people to watch it. Product placement is constant and comical. This reviewer counted at least 12 different products, which made a blatant appearance. Alex is using Facetime on her MacBook Pro to her boyfriend who is on his iPhone while drinking Pepsi and playing on the Xbox. The fact that it even makes its way into the dialogue is outrageous ‘Oh, you guys have a Kinect? They’re awesome, look at what you can do!’

This could have been forgiven to a degree had the story been strong enough to make you forget about it. However that is not the case as there isn’t one. The film lacks any kind of narrative, basically things just happen. There is almost no background on the main characters, except that Alex’s parents might be splitting up, which is then forgotten about and a couple of sexual references between Alex and Ben other than that it’s basically a kid with an imaginary friend coming over to stay until the last 20 minutes of the film.

Fans of the series who actually follow the ‘storyline’ will have almost none of the questions answered due to the lack of real ending, which perfectly sets up another cash injection for the fat cats at the production company.

Clearly, I was not a fan of Paranormal Activity 4, the scares were laughable and unbelievably predictable as well as there being almost nothing original to the series in this instalment except the use of Xbox Kinect, which can apparently see ghosts and spirits. Groups will still flood to see it for Halloween and they will probably get a couple of jumpy moments out of it. Overall it comes across as a complete embarrassment and an excuse for product placement.

It’s all been done before and unfortunately for us they will do it again in PA5. Film fans don’t watch this and if you do, don’t hope for anything positive to come from it. Horror fans, don’t watch this and if you do, don’t hope for anything positive to come from it. Sorry for repeating myself…I thought I was one of the people behind the series.


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