Despite wanting to get more reviews in, I have yet to do that. Ah well, life is like that sometimes, you know? I’m good at keeping promises to others, but not so good at doing it for myself. I made my first house payment, which I had to watch how much I have been spending the last couple of weeks in order to make it. I did manage to go see Paranormal Activity 4 before this weekend though. A little late for opening weekend though. My local theater did show it on Thursday night, but I didn’t want to stay up that late on a work night in order to go see it a day early. As much as I have loved this series, I wasn’t getting a good vibe from this one for some reason. I didn’t watch the trailers much since for the last two films they have been releasing false trailers. I don’t really know if they did that this time, but from the short TV spots, it looked close enough to what really happened.
Taking place five years after the last films, we meet Alex (Kathryn Newton). Alex is your typical teenager who lives with her mom Holly (Alexondra Lee) and dad Doug (Stephen Dunham), along with her adoptive brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp). After the new next door neighbor, Katie (Katie Featherston) gets taken away in an ambulance, the family takes in her son Robbie (Brady Allen). Alex has enough problems with wondering if her fighting parents are going to break up, but now she has to deal with the ever creepy Robbie as well. Like one night she leaves her computer on after talking to her boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively). After watching the footage his computer recorded from Alex’s cam, he sees Robbie climb into bed with Alex. Of course this bothers Alex a lot, so Ben sets up computers in different rooms so they can see if anything else happens. They soon discover that Robbie appears to be talking to someone who isn’t there, and soon gets Wyatt into the act as well. As we all know, the last time we seen Katie was when she killed her sister’s family and took Hunter, and now she is living next door to this family. What could she want with them? Could one of the boys be Hunter?
I was surprised by the previous sequels since I figured they would start to take things down hill. I thought it did happen slightly with the second film, even though I still liked it, but the third film improved things. With the fourth installment though, I didn’t find it all that interesting. It had to happen eventually I suppose, but I still feel disappointed. The setup for this film is pretty much the same as the others. Creepy things are happening in your home? Find a way to set up cameras in order to figure it out. It was weird though that we rarely watch them check said footage that they are looking for. I do find it boring to watch the characters watch the footage that I just watched, but at least let us know they are in fact checking it. Another problem for me was the story itself. After switching gears a little bit in the third film, this film picks up after the cliff hanger ending of the second film, but does include things that we learned from the third film. Got that? Hope so. Much of the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense once certain things are revealed. The hope is with me, and other fans, that some of these things that don’t make sense will be cleared up in the next film. Since this film has done well for itself, I think it is safe to say that there will be a fifth film. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman return once again for their second film in this series. I thought they did a good job of mixing up the way cameras were used, although I had to wonder why Alex was always recording. They find an interesting way to use a gaming system that I never would have thought of. It also looked really cool the way it was being used.
If you have watched any of the other films, which I assume that you have if you are reading this, then you pretty much know what to expect as far as special effects go. One of the nice surprises was the acting. It wasn’t enough to save the film for me, but I would be willing to watch again for the actors. This wasn’t the first film for Kathryn Newton, but it was the first time I have watched her in anything. I thought she did a great job with her role. I was a little surprised when I found out her age. I knew she was young, but thought she was older than she actually is, not that it has anything to do with her acting. I’m looking forward to seeing her in more movies. Matt Shively was also pretty good. As the boyfriend, he mostly provides a few laughs with what he says and does. The two younger actors in Aiden Lovekamp and Brady Allen could have been better considering they were partly the main focus at times. It was great to see Katie Featherston back in the role that she started, but it also would have been nice to have let her have more speaking lines than what she did. Mostly she just shows up looking creepy.
Okay, so Paranormal Activity 4 wasn’t a total let down for me. If it wasn’t for the acting I think I would have really hated it. While Paranormal Activity 4 has some moments where the tension would start to build, I never felt it reached the levels of the other films. It tried, I will give it that, but it never had the build-up I had come to like from the series. The ending sees a flurry of action happen at once. This was fine, but again, I was disappointed with it. Really it felt too much like the ending of the third film. Like most fans, I was expecting some answers, and got nothing but more questions. I’m not taking points away from it because of that though. It was just a little confusing since the adds kept saying that everything had been leading to this film. Hopefully the next film will provide answers to questions I have about the story in this film. Maybe once that happens I can appreciate it better. Until then I would have to say that unless you are like me and have to see every sequel, then wait for the DVD if you haven’t already gone to watch it. In a way, I wish I had waited.
2 out of 5 Never trust a kid who talks to a game system when it is turned off