Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 Movie Review

Runtime: 88 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: October 19, 2012
Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

I have a confession to make: I despised the Paranormal Activity movies for a long time. I watched the first one and spent the entire film waiting for something to happen. I watched the second one and walked out halfway through it. By the time the third one came along, I was ready to give up on the franchise entirely. Imagine my surprise when I sat through all three films and discovered that they weren’t too bad.

Paranormal Activity 4 opens by rehashing the last few minutes of Paranormal Activity 2. Katie (Katie Featherstone) steals Hunter away in the middle of the night. The film then jumps ahead a few years, and Alex (Kathryn Newton) is filming her little brother’s soccer game. As she pans the camera across the field, she spots a strange little boy sitting by himself.

The same little boy starts showing up unexpectedly, hanging out in the treehouse when no one is there and acting oddly. One night, Alex hears an ambulance at the house across the street where the little boy Robbie lives. The next thing she knows, her mother Holly (Alexondra Lee, Special Unit 2) takes the little boy into their house until his mother (Katie from the other films) comes back from the hospital. Naturally, odd things start happening in their home, and Alex manages to capture the footage on cameras placed around the house.

As soon as the movie ended, my boyfriend whispered under his breath, “thank god it’s over.” It probably didn’t help that the only other people in the theater were a group of teenagers who screamed every 10 minutes even when nothing remotely scary happened. That’s my major qualm with these films: nothing ever happens. You spend most of the movie sitting on the edge of your seat and maybe one or two scares happened.

But I do have to say that I found a few things interesting in Paranormal Activity 4. I loved the use of the Kinect, and my boyfriend immediately wanted to go home and do the same thing with ours. I also enjoyed the use of laptop webcams, but I can’t imagine any computer that would continuously shoot footage all day long without anyone touching the camera. Case in point: Alex turns on the camera on her mom’s computer, which she uses in the kitchen. The woman only uses it once throughout the whole movie, and she somehow has no clue that it records her every action.

Several reviews and comments about the movie claimed that it would answer a lot of questions from the previous films, but I ended up with more questions than ever. Why would she steal her nephew only to let him go and track him down later? How many freaking people are in this weird cult, and do they all live in the same area? How the heck can Katie afford to keep running all over the place, paying for hospital treatments, renting new houses, etc. without a job?

I didn’t think Paranormal Activity 4 was a horrid film, but I expected more from it. I’m disappointed that I wasted the money to see it in the theater because it’s definitely a rental only.

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