"You know it's going to be October before we know."
"So we need to make another Paranormal movie. Do you think we still have time to do it?"
"Of course. It can't possibly take that long to come up with a story."
That story now moves to Nevada with a new family that seemingly has nothing to do with the other movies. Most of the movie centers on this family's teenage daughter, Alex (Kathryn Newton), and young son Wyatt. Things get weird for the family when the mother decides to take in the young boy, Robbie (Brady Allen), from next door after his mom is taken to the hospital. Alex eventually notices the paranormal activity, but too bad her parents prefer not to pay attention to her until things hit the ceiling.
Sometimes when there are sequels people complain that they just made the movie for money because it has little cinematic value. This movie just might be the definition of that. Seriously, I wrote the intro like that because that's what it seems like. They felt the need to do another PA so they just whipped something together at the last minute.
This franchise is all about the scares so let me complain about that first. You know that commercial showing all the people jumping out of their seats? Well they must have been watching a highlight reel from the previous movies because there is no scare in this movie that tops any of the best scares from the previous movies.
The coolest thing they do is introducing night vision from the Xbox in the living room. If the audience looks closely enough, they can see things that aren't suppose to be there. The problem with that is that it's cool, and not scary. The first few scares, which are not ground breaking, come from the camera moving at the right time, and from sources that aren't paranormal. There is one scare that I'm still not sure how it happens involving a knife. I'm not going give it away, but I seriously want to know what people think about the knife scene. The only part of the movie that is remotely scary is the last say 10-15 minutes, but I'll get to that shortly.
Moving onto my next complaint, which is the storyline. I realize the movie is all about the scares, but the previous movies at least have some kind of plot. This movie just moves too fast, and leaves out too much detail. Part of the problem is introducing a family that has nothing to do with the other movies. It doesn't make the audience really care about these people. One of the most interesting characters is Alex's boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively). He’s certainly a character that the teenage audience will relate to. The problem with him is that he provides a lot of comedy, which again diminishes the scariness.
As far as taking in the random boy next door, who does that? They make it clear that this family barely knows Katie (Katie Featherston), so why would they take in her son? Alex does try to get her mother to explain how they got to the point of taking in Robbie, but the mother doesn’t explain it well enough. Speaking of things that people don’t do, who walks around their house filming everything? In the other movies they use security cameras, or there is a decent explanation to why things are being filmed. In this one, Alex is filming for no apparent reason besides in the opening scene. She does Skype with Ben in some moments, but still. And of course she has Ben set up more cameras, but they just stop reviewing the footage at one point so what's the point. Those are just a couple examples of the holes in this story.
Besides seeing if they could create any new scares, I really wanted to know more about what Katie and Hunter have been up to. Well audiences may never know because they end up spending more time on the family than giving the audience any concrete information about what mother and son have been up to. Most of the investigation is spent of trying to figure out why Robbie is so strange. At one point, Alex does the typically Internet search for information, but since she can't pronounce what she reads, it totally distracts from figuring out what she’s talking about. There is a little twist in the story, which I will give them credit for cause I didn't see it coming. However, it just opens up so many more questions that I'm not even sure they can answer.
Now back to the last 10-15 minutes, which are the only moments that had my full attention. I won't get too specific, but say that Katie finally gets involved. It’s still a little creepy anytime they show her because you remember what she is capable of doing. Finally there are hints of expanding on the ideas from the end of part 3, but just no explanation along with it. They do take things, if you will, to the next level. However it almost feels like they did the whole movie hoping that final shot would shock audiences into liking the movie. It’s somewhat shocking, but again opens up so many more questions.
And will audiences ever get answers to those questions? Well maybe in part 5. Yes, I said part 5. If you stay to the end of a very quiet credits sequence, there is a bonus scene letting you know this isn’t over… really! Seriously, when they said they were doing a fourth part, I really wished they would’ve started a new storyline like American Horror Story is doing in their second season. Instead, they are just going to drag this on. I was all right with the decision to show where Katie took Hunter, but they ruin it with the lack of details about how she got to this point.
Paranormal Activity 1 started off well, but pissed me off by the end. To this day, I’m still not sure if I like Paranormal Activity 2 or Paranormal Activity 3 better, but I did enjoy them. Paranormal Activity 4 is clearly the worst movie in this franchise. The scares are nowhere near the best scares in the previous movies. There are too many holes in this storyline, which creates a family that audiences won’t care enough about. And they just don’t give audiences enough new details tying this movie in with the others. No surprise here, I give this movie 1 pool of blood.