Paranormal Activity 4 a shining example of what a good filmmaker can do

Paranormal Activity 4 a shining example of what a good filmmaker can do By Forrest Hartman

Paranormal Activity 4
2½ stars
Rated R for language and some violence/terror
Paramount
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on demand

When the first Paranormal Activity worked its way under people’s skin in 2007, it was a shining example of what a good filmmaker can do with a low budget and suspenseful script. Today, the things that made that first film great seem redundant and overused. Sadly, the Paranormal Activity franchise continues to rely on the same tricks it started with five years ago, so the fourth entry isn’t nearly as exciting as the first.

As with the previous movies, the story is presented documentary style, using video footage that was supposedly gathered by the characters themselves. That means the cinematography is shaky, and viewers get plenty of extreme close-ups of the cast.

The plot ties in with the previous movies but introduces a number of new characters, most importantly a teenager named Alex (Kathryn Newton). She notices a series of strange happenings shortly after an odd boy (Brady Allen) moves in next door, and she and her boyfriend (Matt Shively) set up Web cams to document everything.

At first, the footage is only mildly remarkable, but things get stranger – and more frightening – as Paranormal Activity 4 builds to a climax. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who also made Paranormal Activity 3, are successful in creating a creepy atmosphere and they deliver some nice scares during the course of the movie, but they don’t do anything to set it apart from its predecessors.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray releases include the theatrical cut of the movie plus an unrated edition.

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