Directed by: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Starring: Katie Featherson, Stephen Dunham, Matt Shively
Set five years after the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, Paranormal Activity 4 presents us with a seemingly new family and setting, for its much awaited fourth sequel.
This new twist gives the story of the ‘demon-ridden’ family a refreshing twist, as Hunter (known as ‘Wyatt’ throughout the majority of the film) is now shown to be living in an average American household having been adopted. Little do this new family know trouble is never too far from Hunter, and when Katie and her ‘son’ Robbie move in across the street, the tell-tale signs of mysterious noises and disappearing items soon returns.
The Paranormal Activity series of films have always been like ‘Marmite’ – you either love them or you utterly hate them…and not just because you’re scared of horrors. The creators obviously thought that the classic plot of the film (where we discover more about the family featured in film one) was beginning to get tiresome and uninteresting – and they were right. Bringing in this new cast of characters really helped to revitalise the plot and make it seem more appealing, and even though Katie is still featured in the film, she gets very little screen-time until the end of the film. One of the stand-out performances was the character of Ben (played by Matt Shively), who plays the arrogant teen boyfriend of Alex (Kathryn Newton), the 15 year old daughter. Never before have we seen this jokey, genuinely funny character on any of the Paranormals, who tends to put anything he’s faced with into positive and hilarious light.
However, the ‘new-ish’ plot and the character of Ben was about the only thing I can say was actually good and captivating about the sequel in terms of scariness, which is really the films true intention.
The so-called ‘jumpy’ parts were plain, predictable, and just not very scary – if anything they were amusing thanks to the sheer elaborative way they were mastered and carried out. Don’t get me wrong, I was a true fan of the first and even the second film, but the past two have failed to really do anything to make me want to watch them again. I fear that the story has just been stretched out well beyond its limit as an entertaining film and the creators are just looking for ways to force the story to work, creating a more confusing and unrealistic plot. Needless to say I have to admit that I will probably go and see Paranormal Activity 5, if there ever happens to be one – the ending of this recent one just left me with even more confusion than usual about this mysterious cult and the invisible ‘Toby’…watch the film and you’ll know just what I mean.