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Paranormal Activity 4

2012-10-18 09:47
 
More of the same and though it's nowhere near as bad as the excruciatingly awful Paranormal Activity 2, there really is no reason to give its creators reason to make another one.
Paranormal Activity 4
What it's about:

It's been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter and the events of the first hugely successful Paranormal Activity film, but similarly strange things start happening to another suburban family after they start getting involved in the lives of their neighbours - a single mother and her young son.

What we thought:

The first Paranormal Activity film was a perfectly decent, competently put together haunted house film that was made while the whole "found footage" gimmick was still relatively tolerable and, considering that it cleaned up at the box office, while costing next to nothing to make, it's hardly surprising that it was turned into a franchise.

What was perhaps less expected though, was just how quickly the franchise crashed and burned with the frankly excruciatingly boring Paranormal Activity 2. The film was so bad in fact that I went out of my way to ignore the third instalment entirely. To be fair though, based on the apparent complete lack of references to it in Paranormal Activity 4, so did the people who made it.  

The good news then, is that Paranormal Activity 4 is a gigantic improvement over Paranormal Activity 2 in that it's merely dull, tired and uninspired, rather than being life-threateningly so. That might not seem like much, I grant you, but there is a noticeable difference between a film that gently lulls you to sleep and one that brings you dangerously close to slitting your wrists.

More than that, while Paranormal Activity 2 had no redeeming qualities whatsoever, its second sequel may well actually work somewhat for people who haven't seen any of the previous films. It at least gestures towards something resembling a plot and the characters are somewhat less faceless than they were in part two. Plus, if you have no idea what to expect, you may well fall for the desperately cheap scares and occasional creepiness that Paranormal Activity 4 shares with its first film. As such, if you haven't seen any of the previous films and plan only to see this film, feel free to add a star or two to that rating.

For the rest of us though, Paranormal Activity 4 is more of the same and also significantly less of the same. Sure, this time around there is an added paedophobic element but that just means you'll spend the entire film wishing you were instead watching Village of the Damned or The Omen, as well as The Shining or Poltergeist. Terrible comparisons to obviously better horror films are made worse when it makes an unforgivably on-the-nose reference to one of The Shining's most classic scenes.

Putting its obvious, uh, "influences" aside, Paranormal Activity 4's biggest sin is that it copies its scares, almost note for note, from the first film. Yes, there probably is something to the fact that this film is at least smart enough to know that the best horror movies build up tension as they go on, as it spends its first hour slowly ratcheting up the creepy weirdness, before going completely bonkers in its final act.

The problem is that the franchise already pulled this exact same trick in the first film. Both films are structured exactly the same, have the same monsters and use the same quiet/LOUD dynamics to elicit cheap scares from the audience. They can throw all the crappy plot twists (and, boy, are these plot twists crap) at the audience as they want, if you can see every "scare" coming a mile away and can even guess when it's about to go for a misdirect, there is simply no way in hell that the film will ever surprise, let alone scare, even the jumpiest of cinema goers.

If you want to spend your hard earned cash on a good horror movie, might I suggest waiting for Cabin in the Woods to come out on DVD/Blu-Ray or even renting one of those old classic that this film references.

It's not so much that Paranormal Activity 4 is hopelessly bad, it's just absolutely unnecessary. We've already had at least two Paranormal Activity films too many so please, don't give them the cash to make Paranormal Activity 5. This long-suffering series has limped on long enough.

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
P1373R 10/18/2012 8:37 AM
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is this again written by the same critic who unskillfully dismissed Resident Evil 5 (which wasn't the utter crap he moaned about, by the way)? HOW does this guy still write reviews? Horrible, horrible writing. Really. I rate this review ONE STAR.
Mielie 10/18/2012 9:28 AM
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P1373R, it is indeed the same critic, and I agree with you 100%. Can this person PLEASE stop writing reviews already? I too rate this review 1 star
Bob The Blob 10/18/2012 9:39 AM
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This reviewer should only review romantic comedies, seems like they hate every movie out there. Maybe the reviewer should write the perfect movie, direct it, star in it, then it will get a 5/5. Pathetic idiot.
Russell Marston 10/18/2012 9:40 AM
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Wow Ilan, its time for a new career for you I think. Maybe one that doesn't have anything with you expressing your opinion perhaps? I loves the movies and if you were bored in PA2 - then you are obviously desensitized to tension. Maybe you watch too many movies? BTW - I haven't seen the movie but this site demands a rating. So I gave it 5. Just to counteract your drivel.
Johan 10/18/2012 11:07 AM
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Bad reviews! Paranormal Activty movies have all been great.
Jackyl 10/18/2012 11:32 AM
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I think your review is awesome - every sequel in this franchise is a generic, boring waste of time.
Renee 10/18/2012 11:45 AM
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Shaking my head at people who genuinely think the PA movies are the best thing in horror since Dracula.
Anthony 10/18/2012 12:25 PM
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What people fail to come to terms with, is that a critic review is just the opinion of one person. Its their take on the film. For goodness sakes, its not hard fact. Its mainly subjective, so all of you should get off your high horses and start reviewing if you feel so strongly about it. All in all the review was well worded and gets the point across. If you did enjoy the other PA films, you will probably enjoy this one.
DJ Krummelpap 10/18/2012 1:03 PM
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I've only seen the first Paranormal Activity. I love horror and properly scary movies, and everyone was terrified by PA1, so naturally I watched it. I nearly fell asleep! It is one of the most excruciatingly boring films that I've ever seen! I cannot fathom how anybody can be scared by it.Should I even bother to watch the other ones?
Ben 10/18/2012 1:44 PM
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These movies are boring as hell! First one was fresh. That's where it stopped...
James 10/21/2012 11:02 AM
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LOL at the people who think this is actually used for rating the review! This for rating the movie... all you've done by giving 1 star, is agree with the writer. Silly people... regarding the movie, still silly piece of work. Horror movies in general are money sapping works with little thought or originality. 1 star for me
Alien42063 10/21/2012 1:55 PM
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What can I say? Horrible Movie...Bleh!!
SnapCracklePoop 10/22/2012 9:33 AM
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Myself, I have been unlucky enough to watch PA, mostly due to the fact that I took advice from an in law (mostly to please the wife) as they found it fantastically scary, and such a disappointment it turned out to be. I found myself hoping that the house would cave in and kill that idiot husband. When some friends visited with a copy of PA2, I already didnt want to let them into the house. And when I watched it, I hated myself with a passion for wasting 90 minutes of my life for this grotesque piece of tom foolery, plotless dribble. I squirmed and sqealed out of frustration and boredom, never again will I allow Marista to even step foot in my house again, she can attend my daughters next b-day bash though. For a good horror, I'l stick to Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, and Stephen King
Arlene 10/22/2012 3:09 PM
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Yeah I agree, there's nothing better than Stephen King and Deon Kroontz. These PA movies ae a bit boring.
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