To get straight to the point I thought Paranormal Activity 4 was awful. I am a fan of the first three films, I found them to be fun and genuinely creepy but the fourth entry in the series seems lost in its intentions. At no point is the film either scary or compelling in the slightest. The moments that are supposed to scare you and make you jump are so ill-conceived it borders on parody, and to be honest that’s what this film feels like.
Every attempt to scare the audience, at least initially, is what I like to call a “fake scare” whereby the filmmakers build up tension then reveal a cat or a horny boyfriend. This trick is pulled far too often in this film and because of this I started to get very bored very quickly. I don’t presume there is any sort of industry rule on how many times you can try to fool an audience but it’s pushed to the limit here.
Even the story lacks any conviction or sense of purpose, but then again a good story has never been this series’ strong point. The premise has always been simple and the scares were effective. I’ve heard many stories of people not being able to sleep after watching these films, particularly the first two. Those people will not have the same trouble this time around.
As for the apparent twist ending, as with the rest of the film it is poorly executed and any sense of terror or wonder or sheer what the fuck just happened is just not there. This is mostly to do with the build up being so utterly dire that by the end I just didn’t care , which is a shame as it could have worked better if any sort of effort had been put into the other 83 minutes.
I walked away from this film disappointed and bemused at the series’ slip in quality and how it seems to be going the way of many horror franchises before it, in the sense of taking a fresh and alternative attempt to scare people and then slowly becoming utterly predictable. But hey what do I know, Paranormal Activity 5 is on the way.