Movie Review: "Paranormal Activity 4"
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 21:10
If there’s one recurring question throughout the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, it is how long the series can repeat the same exact formula with minimal changes and still retain audience interest. The fourth installment fails to offer anything new as it presents the familiar story of a family that conveniently manages to record hints of paranormal activity within their house. We already know how the story is going to end—everyone dies in seemingly freak accidents. That’s not even a spoiler.
Besides the repetition, what makes the movie extremely subpar even to its series predecessors is the slow-evolving plot. Where previous installments managed to put a relatively successful jump scare every couple scenes, “Paranormal Activity 4” instead seems to rely on lulling the audience to sleep and waking them up at the ending, which is the only part where the action picks up.
The visuals of the movie are likewise lacking and cannot make up for the poor story. The film is shown as if it were recorded through a series of webcams, so the film quality is intentionally poor. As a direct result, the cinematography is further inhibited by not being able to pan or otherwise move the camera. Instead, the audience is expected to stare at the screen, waiting for something out of the ordinary to move or happen. A minute later, an outline of a child is visible in the infrared. As the disappointment builds, the scene progresses to a similar scenario of watching a still camera. No surprises there. The acting, while not terrible, is similarly unimpressive.
The film ultimately suffers from attempting to overly build up the suspense with overdone techniques and then failing to deliver. The “creepiness factor” relies mainly on close-ups of the child Robbie (Brady Allen), around whom the paranormal events are centered. If bored-looking children do not scare you, however, this movie does not have much more to offer. Perhaps the scariest moment of the film is the post-credit scene that hints at the fact that another sequel is in the works.