Opening at an impressive 30.2 million this weekend, Oren Peli is back with another installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise. As a fan of the series, I was excited to see a fourth one but let’s let this be the end of the road...Seriously.
With that said, Paranormal Activity 4 starts off like the rest of the films. There are no opening credits and 100% of the movie is shot through some sort of camera lens. This time we were provided with a quick clip of Katie playing with her baby nephew, Hunter, leading to the night she slaughtered her family and kidnapped him from his crib. The captions go on to explain that the whereabouts of these two are still unknown. The film then fast forwards to 2011 to a new suburban family whose house is eerily or lazily reminiscent to those in the previous movies.
The film depicts Alex, played by adorable fresh face Kathryn Newton, and her family being somewhat of the perfect family with their own little issues. In the beginning of the film we meet their creepy little next door neighbor, Robbie (Brady Allen), who seems to consistently find his way on to their property regardless of gates and locks. Alex’s little brother, Wyatt, soon befriends Robbie but we noticed that he is a very unusual child. Robbie consistently stares off into a trance and answers questions in one word sentences. After his mother is suddenly rushed to the hospital mysteriously, Alex’s ridiculously naive mother (Alexondra Lee) decides to let Robbie stay with them while his mother recovers. Cue ominous lightening and thunder….Now!
Alex, who was already hesitant of this decision, enlists her hilarious and overly sarcastic boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) to help with setting up lap top webcams around the house after noticing some weird things going on. Once those cameras are set up we start to see the disturbing occurrence we paid for. Some instances Peli cleverly involved the ever so popular Xbox Kinect….almost made me consider selling mine. We also see that there is an ulterior motive behind Robbie staying with the family. He brings something into the house that terrifies them leading to jarring moments and a big, yet expected, surprise.
My opinion? Paranormal Activity 4 is just like the others. The show stealer, hands down, was Matt Shively, Ben; he left the audience tickled with his witty comebacks, childish pranks and cynical sense of humor. His character brings back the comedic relief we missed with Micah from the first film. Shively’s performance was more memorable than the actual “scary” scenes. In usual Oren Peli form, he builds suspense by letting small things happen to lead up to a heart pounding, nerve wrenching ending that leaves you somewhat rattled. Were there some creepy parts? Sure, but nothing to keep you from a restful slumber as the first did. All in all it was just okay. The scary factor from the Paranormal Activity has died down and I think it’s time for the saga to die as well.