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Paranormal Activity 4 - Review

Paranormal Activity 4

Review by Jason Palmer

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

SHOW me a horror franchise that managed to retain its integrity throughout numerous sequels? There isn’t one. Everything from Friday the 13th, Halloween, Saw and A Nightmare On Elm Street have eventually lost their punch. This is certainly starting to happen to the Paranormal Activity brand too.

Fourth time around, and the uneasy dread that surrounded the first film has now been replaced by a knowing audience resigned to the scare. It’s a shame but an inevitable by-product of its own success.

The first Paranormal Activity was a genuine masterpiece in modern horror so the challenge was always going to be how to make PA4 a decent scare-fest whilst furthering the story.

For the most part, this plays out fine. We are introduced to Alice (Kathryn Newton) and her family who reluctantly take in the neighbour’s only child when his mother has an unexplained accident and goes to hospital.

Not knowing too much about them, Alice thinks this is a bad idea, especially when Robbie (Brady Allen) displays some very erratic and creepy behaviour. Soon, the household starts experiencing eerie disturbances at night so Alice and her boyfriend Alex (Matt Shively) decide to set up their laptop cameras to record what goes on when they are asleep.

The cast are all fine with newcomer Kathryn Newton doing particularly well – she’ll be a name to look out for in the future.

Katie Featherston returns to haunt us for a fourth time and dutifully obliges, especially in the film’s terrifying climatic scenes.

The film ties into the whole mythology surrounding Katie and her sister whilst leaving it wide open for potential sequels – and with the cost to revenue ratio that these movies perform at, fully expect Paranormal Activity 5!

It may not be as scary fourth time around but audiences still rush to watch something seasonal at Halloween and I’d take Paranormal Activity 5, 6 and 7 above any Saw sequel any day of the week.

Also, make sure you stay until the very end of the credits for a sneak peek at a Latin version of Paranormal Activity that is in production right now too. Not quite a sequel or continuation of the story thread, this will instead focus on the Catholic belief system around supernatural occurrences in a Latina community.

Written by the scribes behind PA 2 and 3, it’s a continuation of the format but in a fresh setting – and it could work, although we’ll reserve judgement for now.

Paranormal Activity 4 may tread on old ground but it still has a spark to entertain and frighten in equal measure. It also provides you with a decent Halloween shout this October.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 88min
UK Release Date: October 17, 2012