The most annoying “Activity” yet, and with fewer rewards. Forget the ghosts, Paranormal Activity 4 demonstrates major communication problems between the parents and young of a Henderson, NV family – the series has uprooted from the original Carlsbad, CA locale. Teen blonde with long locks Alex (Kathryn Newton) films everything on her laptop computer (night infrared images makes everything look extra-terrestrial) and gets the family recording on their laptops, too. Except by the time things get freaky, she doesn’t even bother to playback the night’s footage. The self-involved mom gives her daughter sleeping pills, Dad promises spuriously he’s willing to listen. Katie Featherston from the original is back as Katie, yet possessed by demon-itis. And then there’s the boy Hunter who has also transmigrated.
With further range of supernatural powers, I no longer understand why the ghosts/demons/spirits wait past Night #13 to accomplish what they set out to do. Perhaps it could be argued if a séance expert was called forth to explain. More nagging, I do not understand why Katie stands behind people for protracted seconds before lowering the boom. Another question: Which ghost in particular is behind the levitation of our heroine while she is asleep, and why?
I’m ahead of myself. In the hokiest setup yet, the neighbor’s mom is hauled away to the hospital and Alex’s parents volunteer to watch over spooky little boy Robbie (Brady Allen). This little boy, taken under guardianship without police or social services endorsement, begins a catalyst of premonitions. Alex’s own little brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp) begins to show too much interest in houseguest Robbie’s nighttime activities. By the time Alex gets the cute case of the heebie-jeebies she looks like an impersonating dead ringer for talk show host Kelly Ripa.
These “Paranormal Activity” movies might be a dumb but pleasurable aphrodisiac for couples’ following the movie, bringing men and women to closer hugging on their dates. Nothing beats physically consoling each other after the credits roll. Younger single audiences might be effectively scared by the contrived “Boo’s!” If you’re in the mood for a dumb (but forewarned – often tedious) movie, you could do worse. I’m guessing at this point there might be 8 total movies in this series, and that you can skip the next couple of ’em until the series gets to something big to reveal. I was though, in all honesty, effectively scared by the crazy-freaky ape-$#&% that happens in the final scenes.
88 Minutes. Rated R.
SUPERNATURAL HORROR / LATE TEENS AND ADULTS / FRIDAY AFTER HOURS MOVIE
Film Cousins: “Paranormal Activity” (2009); “Paranormal Activity 2” (2010); “Paranormal Activity 3” (2011).