I love this time of the year. Pumpkins to carve, leaves to rake, and plenty of scary movies to entice a horror movie fan like myself. There has been “The Possession,” “The House at the End of the Street,” “Sinister.” and now “Paranormal Activity 4.” I have to admit that I have loved the “Paranormal Activity” series of films. I think they are very inventive and gave me something that I never really seen or experienced before. So of course I had high hopes for the 4th installment that is being released today in theaters. I sat down with my popcorn and tried to prepare myself for the frightening encounter I was hopefully going to experience for the next 2 hours. And I have to admit, I loved it. It had all of the elements of a horror movie that I love: funny, tension breaking dialogue, edge of your seat thrills, and an explosive ending.
The first few minutes give a nice summary of the last 3 films and end by stating that this film takes place after all of the other 3, almost like “present day.” We meet a family that lives in a nice suburban neighborhood and seemingly have a great life, except for having to live by the new neighbors that moved in across the street: a woman and her “son.” I’m sure you can guess who they are if you have seen the 2nd movie, ie. demonic Katie and kidnapped Hunter. Now there is a slight twist on who the child really is, because he goes by Robbie. So maybe it isn’t Hunter, maybe it is. That is something that the movie tries to explain, but sadly falls short. “Robbie” befriends the family’s child Wyatt and the terror starts right away. Without giving away any spoilers, you will probably be thinking the same thing I was regarding who Hunter/Robbie/Wyatt really is.
This movie had a lot of the elements of the first 3, such as showing a scene and the audience having to sit there to nervously search the frame for what will happen next, leaving them literally on the edge of their seat. However, this movie had a lot more jumpy scares, like a character popping up in a frame or an object being surprisingly hurled towards the camera. This 4th movie definitely had my heart racing and my nerves on edge, more-so than the first 3. However, the scares themselves are a little more subdued and disappointing. The first 3 movies were so inventive, ie. all the cupboards opening at once, people being pulled down the hallway by an unseen force, etc. In this movie, the filmmakers almost seemed a little lazier. Like I said before, they were still very effective is causing me to hold my hands over my eyes the entire time, but I feel like they were nothing I hadn’t seen before. Now, the ending was brilliant. It was very fast paced and incorporated a lot of scary moments in about 5 minutes time. My nerves were definitely on edge for the last 10 minutes and I believe it was the best ending of the entire series.
This is definitely a must see if you love horror movies as much as I do. The acting is great and very believable and although the scares are almost “been there, done that,” they are still effective enough to make you jump out of your seat. It won over my fiance who hates horror movies, so I’m sure it will win you over as well!
Side note: Stay after the movie to see an additional scene from an upcoming sequel/prequel.