The concept of films relying solely on handheld cameras and webcams was exciting enough for anyone to go mad over Paranormal Activity. However, after recreating the popular plot for a fourth time, it has become a little excessive. Especially when Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman have left it completely open for a fifth instalment.
Don’t get me wrong, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Paranormal Activity 4, and yet again I was left wondering what it was all about. There is no mention of “Toby” – the unseen spirit who was introduced in the third film. Instead, the franchise picks up from PA2, and from there we learn the whereabouts of Katie (Katie Featherston) and young Hunter, who has been adopted and renamed Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp).
Camera-loving Alex (Kathryn Newton) and computer-nerd boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) witness peculiar goings on ever since a strange kid named Robbie (Brady Allen) begins letting himself into the house. Robbie takes a liking to Wyatt and befriends him in the form of a weird handshake. Eventually the pair share everything together, including Robbie’s spiritual friend. Instead of make-shift cameras placed on walls and rotating fans, a lot of the film is captured in night vision, featuring infrared tracking dots produced by the Xbox. Only the camera can pick up movement in the pitch black, enabling many figures to appear and really freak you out – whilst everyone in the film are blissfully unaware.
It’s fair to say that since the Paranormal Activity franchise began, each film has tried to be even bigger than the last. Katie almost took a backseat to make way for the eeriness of Robbie, but I just couldn’t take the boy seriously with his accent. He wasn’t scary in the slightest, he was simply funny. Aside from a funny Robbie, however, Joost and Schulman more than made up for the poor plot through the frights the film had to offer. Searching for shadows and anticipating jumps made it incredibly hard to keep my hands away from my face. You are provided with an adrenaline rush out of pure fear, which is something that can’t be beaten in any scary film.
It really depends on whether you enjoy watching a horror for the story or the scares. If a good plot is essential, then Paranormal Activity 4 is definitely not the film for you. I would say these films have run their course and there is no need at all for a fifth film, yet if one was to be brought out, I know I’d have to watch it. It would certainly be intriguing.