Paranormal Activity 4CultureCinemaMovie reviews
The fourth instalment of any film franchise is always a risk – particularly in the horror genre where the element of the unknown is a key player in its success. Paranormal Activity 4 is the latest addition to the genre, set to kick-start the Halloween Season.
Starring Katie Featherston as the identifiable main character throughout the other films, Paranormal Activity 4 seeks to continue the story with the same intense, jumpy-moments that have brought Paranormal Activity its accomplishments so far.
Paranormal Activity 4 is set in 2011; five years after Katie (Katie Featherston) killed her boyfriend, sister and brother-in-law, and abducted their baby, Katie’s nephew Hunter. Despite the previous film, Paranormal Activity 3, being a prequel to the first two instalments, PA4 resumes the paranormal timeline, this time with the focus on a new family; owners of an abundance of MacBooks, webcam and FaceTime facilities.
After befriending a rather odd boy from across the road, Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her brother begin to notice strange goings-on within their house. Either oblivious or in denial, the parents at first neither see nor believe the ‘activities’. The only other ally Alex has is her tech-obsessed boyfriend who sets up every filming device they have around the house. Those who have watched the other Paranormal Activity films will recognise the mother of the strange boy ‘Robbie’ as Katie: Is Robbie really who everyone says he is?
Taking a step away from the usual door-openings and chandelier-swinging (although there is a smidgen of it initially to get the audience warmed up), Paranormal Activity 4 ups its game with the inclusion of X-box’s motion controller, Kinect, which provides the audience with a few freaky sightings. Robbie (Brady Allen) does an excellent Damien-esque performance as the devil-child; his ‘mother’ Katie the catalyst for the horror that ensues.
This is the first Paranormal Activity film to provide a significant amount of laughs. Alex’s boyfriend does a good job with the wisecracks although this does somewhat dilute the overall horror effect. Along with the usual creaking and groaning of the not-so-old house, this Paranormal Activity fails to ignite true scare from within, and instead uses a wealth of cheap jumps to keep the audience on tenterhooks. The last climatic ten minutes bring the film to what should literally shred the nerves of even the most desensitised horror buff! A relief that shows Paranormal Activity did still have one left in it…
With the customary unanswered questions, the non-believing parents (infuriatingly so, given the overwhelming amount of video-taped evidence their daughter acquires), and the peculiar night-time behaviour of young children, Paranormal Activity 4 ticks all of its boxes. However, it would seem any more films from this title are in danger of becoming increasingly ‘normal’ and therefore this film may just be one for the fans.
Paranormal Activity 4 was released 17th October 2012.
Watch the trailer here: