I've never been a huge fan of the Paranormal Activity films. I thought the first one was good for what it was. The second one had some really good moments (the kitchen scene, anyone?). The third one... was kinda lame, but there were at least 1-2 decent parts. So what about the fourth? The film picks up 4 years after the first two (since the third was a prequel) in another state. This time we're following a 15-year-old girl named Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her kinda-boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively). After the neighbor lady (who if you can't figure out who it is before the movie even starts, you're a moron... just sayin') gets sick and ends up in the hospital, her son Robbie (Brady Allen) stays with Alex's family for a while. But weird stuff starts going on when Robbie continually starts walking around every night, so Alex has Ben set up some webcams around the house. You know the drill from there.

This film has one very big positive and one very big negative. Let's start with the positive. The main characters in this film are probably the best characters in the series--at least to me. Alex and Ben are insanely likable. You don't want anything bad to happen to either of them. The film is really funny, too. The chemistry between the two is pretty fantastic, and they share some great moments and dialogue between them. So kudos for that. (However, I will also say that Looper spoiled me on brilliantly acted creepy kids, because Robbie is so lame in comparison. He never really creeped me out, and it was almost a forced performance from this child actor, which feels odd to say.)

On the downside, however, is that the film is not even remotely scary. Pacing-wise, this film kinda reminded me of The Innkeepers. You have this movie that centers around two fun and likable characters... and nothing happens. Seriously, there might be like 4-5 attempts at legitimate scares in the entire movie, but they're all the exact same scares we've seen in other films: levitation, randomly appearing, and a sudden yank to the ground (once it gets closer to the end). And, unfortunately, the other films even pull it off better. Katie being dragged out of the room in the first film was great. The mom in the second movie being pulled down the stairs only to be let go and pulled again and then down and into the basement? Easily the best version of the sudden pull/dragging in the films. But here... it lasts maybe a couple seconds and it's over. And at this point, you expect it. And while the levitation scene here looks cool, it's not even creepy at this point. Not to mention nothing ever comes of it. At least in the other films, we build up to a massive, freaky climax. That's not really the case here. It kinda builds up to something, but that something isn't even worth it. Even in regards to the jump scares, I actually jumped more at the other people in the theater freaking out than the actual jump scare.

I will say another positive is that there's a solid twist about halfway or so through that I didn't see coming until about 5 minutes before it happens. Granted, it makes almost no sense, but I can appreciate the attempt. It just makes things a little more confusing. But that's another thing--if the mythology of the first three films is to be followed, the demon (and/or Toby) has maybe only a 5% reason to be screwing with this family. And after a certain point in the film, not even that. I can't buy the climax because, by the rules the films have set up and why the demon is doing what it's doing, there is no reason for it to be happening at that point. And if there is, somebody explain it to me. This is also one of the first times in the series that it's ever really bothered me on why they still have the camera or laptop or whatever they're holding at the time. At least half the time, it makes no logical sense.

If you're a fan of horror movies--even old school horror--there's no way this film will scare you. If you almost never watch horror and/or haven't seen the other three (...why are you watching this one?), I guess this one could be scary to you. But this is a film with very little tension. Even the typical "Night" segments lost almost all building tension. Why? Because nothing happens. At least in the other films, stuff gradually escalates to help build the tension. Though I will give it another positive in that the Kinect light thing was a really cool idea. If you must see it, to it for the characters and the comedy... because you're certainly not going for the scares.

Feed Me, Seymour!

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