Paranormal Activity 4 (2012) Review: Are They Really Making A Fifth!?!

Yell! Magazine reviews Paranormal Activity 4:

Have you ever seen any films in the Paranormal Activity franchise? No? Ok, then go to last year’s review of the third Paranormal Activity installment. I was still a fresh-faced, wide-eyed idealist when it came to this series, so check out that review to understand what it’d be like to walk in blind.

Oh? What’s that? You’ve seen one of these things already. Eh? You’re on the fence about seeing another one? Alright, well let me make this one easy on you, broseph:

Save your money.

Or don’t. Whatever. Go see Argo or Here Comes the Boom – but whatever you do, don’t put yourself through another Paranormal Activity movie. Not twice, and certainly not three times. The magic’s lost, and you won’t be half as entertained. In fact, you’ll probably be pretty disappointed. Maybe even a little miffed. Or bored. Possibly even borderline comatose. You might go so far as to punch your best friend in the kidney or slam dunk an armadillo, pretending it’s a basketball. Or maybe you’ll just drop to your knees and curse fate for being so derivative. Anyway, you definitely won’t be happy.

See, here’s the thing. Paranormal Activity does one trick, and it does it very good. It generates a novel atmosphere, and scares with little to nothing. The problem is, once you’ve “seen” how these movies work, you’re likely to not be scared again by the same gimmick.

Hell, you’re likely to see right through it – straight into the contrived and formulaic soul that sits silent at the core of these frigging things.

Don’t believe me? Eat synopsis.

Five years after Katie and Hunter disappeared at the end of Paranormal Activity 2, Paranormal Activity 4 begins when a suburban family gains some new neighbors: An immediately hospitalized mother (Uh, Katie, again), and her eerily detached son.

paranormal activity 4Kids aren’t scary, because I’m bigger than them. 

Soon, scary things start happening. Random household items shift places off-screen and sometimes a cat jumps into the camera, for a cheap jump scare. Doors open ominously, revealing nothing behind them! And then, they open again, like 10 minutes later! And then again, in case you weren’t scared the first two times!

And in the meantime, you – the viewer – sit there, bored out of your skull, wondering how many times the door opening gimmick was used in the last three movies.

Then, you start to think of the third movie, and how this one, Paranormal Activity 4, is literally the same freakin’ thing. Same style, same antagonist, new characters. Whoop-dee-goddamn-doo.

Instead of Dumbass-Obsessive-Dad, we get Dumbass-Aloof-Dad. Instead of Non-believing-Brunette Mom, we get Non-Believing-Blonde Mom. Instead of an older couple being terrorized, it’s a young, adolescent pseudo-couple!

paranormal activity 4 sees terror in the garage

With the exception of an effect caused by an Xbox Kinect left on, all night (which allows you to see ghostly silhouettes), the differences end there.

(There are four of these movies, by the way. Four.)

How bad does Paranormal Activity 4 get? Find out after the jump…

Paranormal Activity 4 poster
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
19 October 2012
Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Sprague Grayden
Official URL:
Paranormal Activity 4

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