By Jair Fuentes
“Paranormal Activity 4” fails to top its predecessors in the latest installment of the successful found footage franchise.
The film follows a teenager named Alex, played by Kathryn Newton, and her family, which includes adopted brother Wyatt, played by Aiden Lovekamp, and takes place in Henderson, Nevada.
After discovering Robbie, the boy from across the street, playing in their backyard, Alex begins to wonder why he is there. After a few days, Alex begins to feel that something is wrong.
With the help of her boyfriend, Ben, played by Matt Shively, she beings to record what is happening throughout the house with the use of webcams.
The problem with this film is that it doesn’t explain anything that audiences have been wondering from the past films, making it feel like a waste.
The film picks up exactly five years after part 2 (the third film was a prequel). After original character Katie, played by Katie Featherstone, kidnapped baby Hunter, their whereabouts were unknown.
While this film largely taps into that back story, it stops there. There is no explanation of the origins, history or even why Katie is involved again.
Despite two very suspenseful moments, this film also lacks those terrifying scenes that made the other films successful.
The scares that they do try are predictable and are obvious rip-offs of past scares. Even the webcam and Kinect involvement don’t feel very inventive. The acting in this film seems somewhat forced.
Written by Zack Estrin and Christopher B. Landon, the writing feels confusing, as if they didn’t know what else to add. Regardless, the actors do their best with the dialogue and actually come off very likable, especially Ben, the boyfriend.
It seems like the more important information is being saved for later films. If the purpose was to keep the franchise going, then the filmmakers have done a great job of stretching a very small storyline.
“Paranormal Activity 4” is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. It is rated R for language and some violence/terror and runs for 88 minutes.