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John’s Horror Corner presents Strong Opinions on continuing the Paranormal Activity franchise after PA4

October 16, 2013

I recently posted some rants and ravings about the Poltergeist remake and made numerous comparisons to the Paranormal Activity franchise (which was critiqued in a detailed overview).  Well, today I’d like to express my concerns on continuing the PA series.

As I addressed in my franchise overview, these movies have been going downhill.  The franchise steered away from its more unexplained “did that just move?” sensory experience in PA 3 and completed abandoned it by PA 4 for a temperamental poltergeist named Toby–way to keep a straight face on that one.  With this transition in style, PA 3 started to add some story elements to the series, trumped up much more so in PA 4.  Considering exposition to be the death of horror, I whole-heartedly felt that this was a major mistake!  I can’t help but to wonder if this story-driven style (less rich with JFC jump-scares and HFS randomly moving household objects) will continue…I hope not.

I always knew they’d continue making PA movies and I always knew I’d go see them all no matter what the quality of the most recent release.  It’s the way I am.  But I reserved hope that they’d return to their old ways, the style of PA and PA 2.

 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones will be written and directed by Christopher Landon (writer PA 2-4, producer PA 3), who has unfortunately had more involvement in lower quality films of the series than good ones.  But at least he was involved in PA 2

Something I loved about PA 2 was the Latin maid character.  In the movie she speaks very little English, however she talks quite a bit.  No subtitles are offered to the audience when she speaks Spanish (to herself, in panic or in prayer, etc.).  But if you understand what she’s saying, the movie is actually more interesting.  Even more interesting than if they gave subtitles…because you know that you caught something that wasn’t meant for everyone in the audience.  As I found myself understanding it I stopped to wonder how monolingual Americans would react to these indecipherable mutterings—would the mood be different?  No subtitles was a brilliant call.  Also, adding not only a dog or a baby, but both, was a good call.  You’ll find that you watch the baby much in the same way that you watch the dog.  They’re both like wind chime-harbingers of strange goings-on.

I wonder how much of these ideas were put to paper by Landon.  Of course, he also penned parts 3 and 4 (at least in part), and they had no such effective devices.

According to AICN, the upcoming film is due on January 3, 2014.

Paranormal Activity 5 director Gregory Plotkin has no directorial experience and produced parts 3-4 and edited 2-4.  This strikes me as doubly bad news.  Again, the man at the helm has more involvement with the inferior franchise installments than he does with the good ones.  No official word yet on plot details for PA 5, or how it will connect to the other films. But part 5 is expected to continue developing the odd story cued up in parts 3-4, which is another disappointment to me.  So get ready to learn more about Toby, the hair-pulling, back-breaking, dragging-you-down-the-hall-screaming poltergeist who has poisoned the PA waterhole.

According to AICN, the upcoming film is due on October 24, 2014.

Maybe Toby will break his high score on Kinect.

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