Film
“Paranormal Activity 4” Knows Suspense
By LaDale Anderson
Oct 18, 2012 - 2:13:58 PM

HOLLYWOOD—Just in time for Halloween, audiences will be delighted to hear that another installment in the “Paranormal Activity” franchise has arrived.  The fourth chapter picks up five years after the events of the second picture involving Katie (Katie Featherston) and her nephew Hunter. I will be frank; the third chapter in the saga was a complete bore.  I feel asleep nearly five to six times in the theater.  So I was quite skeptical going into this next chapter. 

 

This installment follows our primary character Alex (Kathryn Newton) who encounters some strange happenings occurring at her home thanks to Robbie (Brady Allen), the little boy next door.   Alex’s mother offers to watch Robbie for a few days after his mother was taken to the hospital.  While Robbie is staying at the house, the strange occurrences increase in intensity.  Alex sees shadowy figures, chandeliers shatter, and doors open and close unexpectedly: things that typically occur in a haunted house. 

 

The problem with the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, in my opinion is that no logically-sane person would stay in a house where the unexplainable continues to occur. Most people would pack their bags after the first night of the supernatural taking over.  In these movies, not so much; everyone wants to get to the bottom of things, even if it results in death. 

Kathryn_Newton.jpg
Alex (Kathryn Newton) in "Paranormal Activity 4."

 

The creepy element in the picture is the children portrayed by Robbie and Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp).  There is nothing scarier than to see a child possessed by an evil spirit: which takes place in the movie.   The innocence of a child haunts the viewer long after the picture ends.  There is one incident involving a bathtub that will stun a few audience members.  “Paranormal Activity 4” relies on suspense.  My biggest issue is that the suspense takes quite some time to build, but the jolts that are delivered to the audience are worth the wait. 

Does this fourth outing introduce something fresh to the franchise?  No.  Are we closer to finding out just what possessed Katie in the first picture and what motive this demonic spirit has? No.  I’m guessing that by the eighth or ninth installment audiences will get their answers.   The movie does exactly what a horror film is intended to do which is delivering scares.  It’s not so much dealing with a psycho in a mask, but an entity that is unknown.  “Paranormal Activity 4” forces us to question, just like all of its predecessors, just how safe are we in our own homes.  There is nothing more frightening than the inability to see what is attacking you. 



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