Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first three Paranormal Activity films, but I’ve avoided spoiling too much about Paranormal Activity 4 itself (until the Stray Observations – read those at your own risk!)
Back when it first received a wide release in 2009, the original Paranormal Activity was a breath of fresh air. Compared to the 5-year old Saw series, for instance, its thrills and scares were generated not by the amount of blood onscreen but by the unseen terrors that it set off in our imaginations. The found-footage genre wasn’t exactly new at that point (having already been used in, for instance, REC and Cloverfield), but it hadn’t reached the seemingly ubiquitous status that it has now. Audiences responded and the film grossed nearly $200 million worldwide. Because of that huge success, there’s been a new Paranormal Activity movie released every October since, and 2012 is no different, bringing us Paranormal Activity 4.
October 19, 2012 | Categories: "Found Footage", 6 - 6.5, Genre, Horror, Ratings, Thriller | Tags: aiden lovekamp, alexondra lee, ariel schulman, brady allen, christopher b. landon, henry joost, jason blum, kathryn newton, katie featherston, matt shively, oren peli, stephen dunham, steven schneider, zack estrin | Leave a comment
Film #8: Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
After watching the second Paranormal Activity film a few weeks ago, I had an immediate urge to follow-up with the third. Despite the disappointment of that film, I just love horror movies, and I have a special fondness for these found-footage movies that immerse the audience in verisimilitude. In any case, I would have expected the third movie to follow Katie and Hunter after the events of the second, but instead, it jumps back in time to the 80s and glorious VHS tapes to show us all the stuff that happened to Katie and Kristi when they were young. And so this movie follows them, their mother Julie, and their mother’s boyfriend Dennis, who takes it upon himself to film the house every night after noticing some unnatural dust settling on tape after an earthquake (which was only recording because they were about to make a sex tape – yes, the series finally went that route, but no, it doesn’t actualize into any nudity).
January 25, 2012 | Categories: "Found Footage", 7 - 7.5, Genre, Horror, Ratings, Thriller | Tags: akiva goldsman, ariel schulman, chloe csengery, chris smith, christopher b. landon, dustin ingram, ghosts, hallie foote, henry joost, horror, jason blum, jessica tyler brown, katie featherston, lauren bittner, oren peli, paranormal activity, paranormal activity 2, paranormal activity 3, poltergeist, prequel, rosemary's baby, sprague grayden, steven schneider, supernatural | Leave a comment
Film #6: Insidious (2011)
Insidious is a horror film brought to us by James Wan, director of the original Saw film. While that movie was a slasher, this film is a quieter but equally effective stab at the supernatural subgenre. After moving into a new house, Renai and Josh Lambert (Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson) face a familial crisis when their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) inexplicably slips into a coma. Three months later, Dalton, still comatose, is moved from the hospital back home, where Renai (and Dalton’s younger brother) begin to see things and fear that the house is haunted. The family moves to another new place, but when problems persist, Josh’s mom Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) brings in psychic-esque friend Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye). Despite Josh’s initial protests, Elise’s methods prove that Dalton’s soul is lost in a supernatural world called ‘the further’, and it’s up to Josh to go in and recover his son.
January 23, 2012 | Categories: 6 - 6.5, Genre, Horror, Ratings, Thriller | Tags: barbara hershey, insidious, james wan, jason blum, leigh whannell, lin shaye, oren peli, paranormal activity, patrick wilson, rated pg 13, rose byrne, saw, steven schneider, ty simpkins | 2 Comments
Film #3: Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Two years ago when the first Paranormal Activity came out and had everyone shitting their pants, I saw it and did a webcam review for the now-defunct Rotten Tomatoes Show. I didn’t bother to keep up with the series as the sequels rolled off the line, but since PA2 was on Netflix, I decided to hit it up, remembering the fond feeling I felt toward the original. Paranormal Activity 2 is a “parallel prequel” to the first, taking place before and a little bit after its predecessor. Instead of following a couple, the sequel gives us a full-fledged family – newborn baby, dog and all. Adding to the camcorder shots is footage from security cameras that the Rey family installs after they come home to find their house in disarray (but with nothing stolen). Over the next couple of weeks, wife Kristi and daughter Ali start to suspect a supernatural presence in the house, though father Dan remains obstinate.
January 15, 2012 | Categories: "Found Footage", 5 - 5.5, Genre, Horror, Ratings, Thriller | Tags: brian boland, katie featherston, micah sloat, michael r. perry, molly ephraim, oren peli, paramount, paranormal activity, paranormal activity 2, seth ginsberg, sprague grayden, tod williams | 1 Comment