Sunday, October 28, 2012
I just finished doing what I swore I wouldn't do: watch Paranormal Activity 4, a.k.a the scariest series I've ever seen aside from the Grudge. I cried at least once during the previous three installments, and with this one being an actual sequel instead of a prequel, I figured this would kill me too. To my surprise (and slight relief) it didn't, nor do I think it will haunt me.
This one centers around a rich (you know they are) family of four with a semi-absent father, a mother, a cute, teenage daughter named Alex, and their adopted 6-year old son, Wyatt. Alex, of course, has a fetish for recording everything, and so we have our Micah. Alex's funny and likeable boyfriend, Ben, is also frequently present. They recently had some odd new neighbors move in across the street; a creepy boy around Wyatt's age named Robbie and his single mother, who has never been seen. One night, his mother goes to the hospital and Robbie has to stay at Alex's house for a few days since he has no one else, and thus the trap is set.
Toby, our resident demon, is much less malicious as he started off as in the first two movies, and has become more "child friendly"; he's typically, um, sensed playing with Robbie and Wyatt as he was with Kristi in PA3. Most of his hijinks are basic pranks, such as stealing a knife while the mom has her back turned, or moving chairs, never really doing anything harmful. Robbie is the odd one, and he becomes an influence on Wyatt. Of course, Alex catches some of the weird behavior on camera and begins to investigate, eventually coming to the conclusion that they're being haunted, and weird-ass Robbie has something to do with it. Of course, she tries to tell her parents, but no one believes her. Katie makes her triumphant return, and in typical PA fashion, the worst of Toby is unleashed at the end.
It's a slow ride to the climax, that's for sure, and aside from the occasional jump-scares, is not really scary. It's not until the last two or three minutes of the film that anything really bad happens. It's the same PA formula we've seen before, but now it's trying the patience of the audience. Toby seemed like a grown demon with bad intention when we first met him, but now he seems like a cackling pre-teen with an obsession with pranks. There doesn't seem to be much of an escalation of his machinations and it makes the ending seem random and uncharacteristic.
If you're dedicated to finishing the series or just want to stay caught up, then yeah, go watch it. If you're one of those people I don't understand that actually like being terrified and losing sleep, then this isn't for you. Trust me, you're adrenaline will not get pumped at ALL.