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Bad Movie Tuesday: Paranormal Activity 4

February 12, 2013

Paranormal Activity 4 movie poster


Sidenote: I love bad films. I’ve managed to find humor in movies like Whiteout, In the Name of the King 2 and pretty much every recent Nic Cage film. However, Paranormal Activity 4 kinda hurt my soul. The biggest problem is that I was excited for it. The third was in no way good but I was hoping they would atone for themselves. There is zero atonement and a plethora of annoyance. The following review tries hard to find the silver lining but then it gets frustrated and ends up with me talking about the review in third person.

The Paranormal Activity series has destroyed something good. It has taken the phrase “nothing gold  can stay” and turned it into “nothing scary can stay.”  The poster brags “all the activity has led to this.” The problem is “this” can best be described by “insert fart noise here.” The original was admired by Steven Spielberg and now the fellas who made Catfish are turning it into the Where’s Waldo of horror films. Instead of appreciating the scares of an evil demon you are left with looking at a screen trying to find that pesky Toby run around and cause property damage.

Paranormal Activity 4 attempts to build a mythology surrounding the jerky demon and his origins. A mythology is created but it destroys all the scares of the prior films. The low budget creativity is nonexistent and instead replaced by wonky lights, jump scares and one of those evil kids who has way too much hair. Nobody listens, people never leave their house or watch the incriminating footage. A lot of trouble could have been prevented if the parents would have spent five minutes watching the spooky kid do weird things while a coven of witches hung out across the street.

Paranormal Activity 4 kinect


What started as a low budget and original fright fest is now recycling the premise to diminishing returns. The original PA created a demon who was equal parts evil and mysterious. It was scary because it’s motivations were unclear and it came across as a real threat. For instance, there is a neat scene where a man involved in the paranormal comes into the house and quickly realizes he is out of his league. He thanks the couple for calling and he exits without looking back. What did this man sense? Why did he know it was so evil? Was he faking and got lucky? The original asked questions and didn’t give you all the answers.

PA2 didn’t wreck the originals good name and told a linear and coherent version of the story. The series started going downhill when PA3 named the demon Toby and introduced us to a crew of angry witches. The shock was gone and they wrecked everything by giving the demon a nerdy name. Toby was no longer scary because it became a jerky demon who loved closing doors and pulling people off beds. In the first film the mystery kept you intrigued. Now, it is essentially Toby dropping chandeliers, stealing knives and ogling fifteen year old girls.

The plot of PA4 revolves around a demon kid harassing a family of four. Weird things start happening and the young girl’s boyfriend sets up all the computers to record the happenings. He rigs up an Xbox Kinect to detect movement and for some reason nobody watches the footage. The kid starts acting erratic and Katie from the original returns. This all leads to a plethora of hauntings without the luxury of an oscillating fan.

Paranormal Activity 4 girl


Paranormal Activity 4 is an exercise in the mundane. This is a shame because the first film had an incredibly amount of promise. There is nothing worse than expecting something scary and instead getting Toby and his door shutting shenanigans.

In the end PA4 made a ton of money and a sequel is in the works. Toby will bother people again, necks will be snapped and more back story will be uncovered. I can’t wait to write an annoyed review in the third person for PA5.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2013 11:46 pm

    It’s a scary time at the movies, even though it’s not as inventive or original as the last three movies. Still, you got to give it to a series that still, surprisingly has a lot of fun with itself. Good review.


  1. Bad Movie Tuesday: Paranormal Activity: The Cut and Paste Antics of The Marked Ones | Movies, Films & Flix

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