The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Paranormal movies beat big dead horse

A+creepy+little+kid+stands+silhouetted+behind+Alex+%28Kathryn+Newton%29.+This+is+as+scary+as+Paranormal+Activity+4+gets.%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+Paramount+Pictures
A creepy little kid stands silhouetted behind Alex (Kathryn Newton). This is as scary as Paranormal Activity 4 gets. Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures

By Joshua Knopp/special assignments editor

A creepy little kid stands silhouetted behind Alex (Kathryn Newton). This is as scary as Paranormal Activity 4 gets.
Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures

Paranormal Activity 4 is laugh-out-loud funny.

The sequel, which actually is a sequel (previous Paranormal Activity sequels actually take place earlier in the timeline than the first movie), picks up several years after Paranormal Activity (and the end part of Paranormal Activity 2, part of which was a sequel).

Katie (Katie Featherston), the main character of the first movie, moves across the street from Alex (Kathryn Newton), and weird things start happening in Alex’s house. The haunting is caught on film in the series’ signature found-footage style when her boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively), sets up the family’s endless supply of MacBooks to record everything 24/7 because MacBooks can totally do that.

Paranormal Activity 4 represents the total degeneration of the series. In the same places the first film drew screams and spilled popcorn, this one draws puzzled looks and chuckles.

It’s never really clear what’s going on. While the “unknown is scary” mechanic was key to the original film’s terror, it really doesn’t work here. Paranormal 2 and 3 went to great lengths to expand on the life cycle of the series’ demon and explain the events being portrayed. But in this movie, it’s not so much as “unknown is scary” as much as it is a “What? This doesn’t make any sense!”

Verisimilitude, or ability to remain consistent within its own world, is completely gone in this movie. Katie’s child, Robbie (Brady Allen), is assumed to be the previously kidnapped Hunter, but it turns out Alex’s adopted brother, Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp) is actually Hunter because kidnapped babies can get put through the adoption system without anybody noticing. Also, this makes Robbie … who, exactly?

The scare gags, which knocked audiences upside the head like a solid oak baseball bat in the first movie, have been chopped up and recycled into wet mulch and invoke more hilarity than fear. Newton, Shively and Allen give subtly sterling performances, but really, for what?

Paranormal Activity 5 was announced for next October a mere three days after this movie’s release, and that’s actually going to be a longer turnaround than this film, which was first announced in January. It is as sloppy and rushed as that nine-and-a-half month timeline implies. Though it was set up to be a fantastic finisher to the series, it leaves audiences with more questions than answers.

It’s just like any other pulp horror movie — it’s cheap, it’s forgettable and it’s sad to see.

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