Movie Review: "Paranormal Activity 4" (2012)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
If you're getting tired of these 'Paranormal Activity' movies, you're not alone. "Paranormal Activity" was a monumental breakthrough in independent filmmaking. Oren Peli put the whole thing together himself, for only a little over $10,000, and filmed in his own house. This was done for less than the budget of "The Blair Witch Project", another low budget horror film in the same genre.
"Paranormal Activity 2" looked promising in its teasers and trailers, but the end result wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but the film did have some creepy moments (i.e. the kitchen cabinet scene). I did like the fact they were using security cameras around the house, under the impression that a burglar was the problem, it just made perfect sense.
Then along came "Paranormal Activity 3" which was a prequel. At this point, it felt like they were just dragging the whole thing out. Don't get me wrong, there's quite a few magnificent scares in "Paranormal Activity 3" (i.e. the lady standing at the top of the stairs bit), but the concept was getting very repetitive and it felt like they were taking a page from "The Last Exorcism" with the satanic cult.
Now "Paranormal Activity 4" has been released. Unlike the third film, it continues the story of the second one by following what happens to baby Hunter who is now a little kid living with foster parents. Meanwhile, Katie (who kidnapped Hunter at the end of the second film), is living across the street with a different little kid named Robbie. The both of them try to coerce Hunter into joining them over the course of the film, all while Alex (Hunter's teenage foster sister) senses something isn't right and conducts her own investigation.
What The Heck Do You Want, Already?
That's the big question that comes to mind, what does this demon and its coven of followers want?
Let's start from the beginning. The demon went after Katie and her sister, then it went after her sister's son. What's next? Why does this demon keep 'taking' people? What is it trying to accomplish? Does it want to take over the whole world?
Well, by the time "Paranormal Activity 4" ends, it looks as if they 'took care' of all the witnesses involved. Katie is already possessed, her sister and family are dead, Micah's dead, her nephew is now possessed, his foster family is now dead. Is there anyone else to kill or possess for "Paranormal Activity 5"? I sure hope there isn't.
Another question is who keeps finding this footage? In the first 'Paranormal Activity' film, it was the police. So what about in the sequels? Is it also the police? It's never stated, it's just us, the audience, we just happen to be catching what's going on.
Furthermore, why isn't the demon erasing all this footage? It's not like the demon is working alone here, it has an entire coven of psychotic human individuals, real people, who are in on it as well. People who appear in some of this footage. Wouldn't the demon want to cover its tracks and break all the tapes, cameras, and laptops?
This time, the action is captured through a series of webcam videos in addition to handheld cameras, but it's all done just to find a fancy way to transition certain scenes and shots.
Devil Kid for Sale, Any Takers?
So after Katie kidnaps baby Hunter during the end of "Paranormal Activity 2", she gives him away to an adoption agency at some point before the start of "Paranormal Activity 4"? What is the point? Katie already has a satanic kid named Robbie living with her, so why go through all the trouble of giving Hunter up for adoption only to reveal his true identity to him later on?
If you want the honest-to-God truth, it's because the franchise demanded a script for a fourth 'Paranormal Activity'. It's really as simple as that, it may not be a credible reason as far as screenwriting goes, but in terms of box office, it does make a whole lot of sense.
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