Jumpers Will love it, Others will Find It Old

  This October has been full of horror movies, and this weekend brings yet another one fills the theaters.  The movie this week is Paranormal Activity 4, the latest installment to, for some reason, a popular movie series in the modern day spook features.  Why there have been three sequels to this 2007 film, I don’t understand, but regardless I’m here to report to you on whether or not it’s worth a trip to theater.  So read on my fans as I hopefully give you some insight into Henry Joost’s film.

Surprise, Surprise this movie is the same as its predecessors, which means all camera and very little plot.  However, rather than getting another movie focusing on Katie and Kristi’s life, the director decided to pick a random family to fill the camera for an hour and a half.  Now for teenage guys, this is going to be a good change as Ms. Alex (Kathryn Newton) is a very pretty sight, but for those wanting more backstory on Katie, well you’re out of luck for most of the movie.  No matter who is on camera though, the acting on this movie is simple and rather plain.  Most of the acting involves nothing but screaming at the camera or having very simple conversation.  I guess it fits with the documentary approach these films use, but that still doesn’t mean the acting is anything remarkable, or worth notice.

I’m sure some might be saying, “You idiot I go to see these movie to jump out of my seat and scream in fright.”  Well let’s talk about that next then.  Once again, Paranormal Activity is filled with numerous opportunities for people to get scared out of their wits.  The movie is another collection of stationary cameras, Mac computers in this film that are set in various rooms where the haunting will take place.  At first, the movie is rather boring as nothing really happens other than a cat going on a nightly exploration.  However, in due time the directors work to try and make the audience jump, with loud sounds disturbing the intense silence, someone getting dragged off the bed, or someone suddenly appearing on the screen.  Not a fan of or not really affected by jumping?  No problem, PA4 also adds creepiness to the mix, with subtle movements in the background, whispering monologues to no one in particular, and numerous other disturbances that somehow have a way of keeping fans coming back for more chills. Now for me I really wasn’t scared by the film, because the scare tactics are the same as the previous three installments.  While there is still an air of creepiness in the quiet cul de sac house, their methods have grown stale, cold, and may soon start growing mold.  For other audience members though, the scare factor is still holding strong, as countless screams and comments filled the theater.  There were even a few members who almost hurt themselves from jumping so high.

So what helps make this movie stand out?  Well there are a few things that might help you decide whether it’s worth a trip to the theater.  For one thing the creepiness just doesn’t apply to the invisible man named Toby.  PA4 also has the two boys Robbie and Kyle creep you out.  Robbie in particular had a skin crawling stare that seemed to penetrate your core.  His unnatural silence, added something more that help creep out the audience further.  Combining Robbie with the antics of the invisible demon was a good choice to help keep the scares fresh, but sadly it’s not enough to keep the say it was worth a fourth movie.  Some other things to mention was the clever use of the Xbox Kinect camera as a tool to show off the spirit haunting the house, which kept the audience gasping.  Other positives to the film, was again some subtle hints that you need to keep an eye open for, some tie ins to the previous films, and even a little bit of a twist that can blind side you if you don’t think.

I’ve reported the positive so let’s talk about a few other negatives.  Again this is a Paranormal Activity film so it’s a rather simplistic film.  Audience members like me who know when the scares are coming, will be bored by this film except maybe watching the other audience members react to the scares.  The twist I mentioned is not that hard to figure out if you keep everything in perspective, and try to understand why this random family is being subjected to terror.  However for the one big twist, there are numerous plot holes that the movie left unfilled.  The origins of one of the characters, exactly who or what the demons were, and what happened in a few of the scenes.  Throw this in with the tired scare tactics, and you get some hard penalties to this film.

Is this movie worth a trip to the theater, or even worth seeing?  Well it really depends on the type of audience member you are.  Viewers like me who know how to determine when scary things will happen, are good at putting two and two together, and can’t stand plot holes are going to want to skip this film, as it may be boring.  However, if you haven’t gotten tired of the same scare tactics and are still wanting more paranormal plot, then this movie is right up your alley.  Where does it stand among the other three, well for me probably slightly better than three and close to par with two.  For me though I have to say Redbox is the best option.  My scores for this one are:

Horror:  4.5-5.0

Movie overall:  4.0


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