After a recap of the events of the second film, Paranormal Activity 4 starts on Halloween 2011. This gives us an opportune and legitimate reason for something to be recorded. However we are already getting into that far fetched territory. While a holiday may be reason for a home video, when we push beyond that and delve into teenagers recording themselves – be it at a party or during a simple video chat- we’re already going too far. The point is that the Paranormal Activity movies have gotten to a severe level of abuse. There is simply no legitimate reason for any of these characters to be recording their every move.
Paranormal Activity 4 is like watching your boring friend’s “haunted” vacation footage. While you want something really disturbing to happen, for the most part you are annoyed and really wish you could just check your email or go pee due to boredom, but you hate to be rude, so you pay attention. The movie is a half assed version of all previous sequels. Paranormal Activity 2 and 3 are almost Oscar worthy compared to this installment. There is just nothing going on at this point.
Let’s be real here, folks, the greatest part of Paranormal Activity 4 is the fact that the creepy neighbor kid, Robby, looks exactly like actor Peter Dinklage. I begged for the majority of this film for the kid to break out an English accent and spew forth, “Those are brave men knocking at our door, let’s go kill them!” Sadly, I am not sure why or how the kid is even in the movie. What the hell is the exact point of this sequel? Why or how did Katie lose Hunter, her nephew, at the end of part 2? Why was he adopted by the family? This movie is just a conundrum and not even an interesting one you want to try and solve. It honestly is like a boring vacation video.
The Blu-ray quality of Paranormal Activity 4 is actually a bit saddening. One would assume that the footage could be comparable to something shot on a video camera, however there is not that crisp, looking through a window aspect to the film. It, along with the typical (of the three prior films) slow growl build up to the scare score is not improved upon nor does it contribute to the movie. At least for some bang for your buck you can get Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet in the same package.
The special features are slim, which is to say, there is only one special feature. Yes, the discs come with both the theatrical 87 minute film and the unrated 96 minute cut, but only the Blu-ray has the one special feature. There are a chunk of deleted scenes that are all bulked together as “The Recovered Files”. The footage within these ‘files’ contains a few scares here and there, but really, in terms of terror – special features or the actual feature film – there are only one or two. And that might actually be a stretch.
The Paranormal Activity movies cater to a certain easily pleased crowd and while I hate to say anything negative about that crowd, it’s more that the scene and the entire genre has come to the point that it will sell tickets no matter what. This is a disappointment because while these films could introduce something new, instead, they rely on the same tricks over and over. And this time, in Paranormal Activity 4, the tricks are few and far from special.
DVD Score: 5/10