Much like the second and third installments of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, there is no reason to waste your time with “Paranormal Activity 4.”

That is, unless, you’re interested in watching the same damn movie all over again: people far too obsessed with filming their every move begin catching something otherworldly in their footage, and we scan the screen for 90 minutes waiting for things to go bad.

It was a smashing enough premise in the first “Paranormal Activity” — just on word-of-mouth alone, it became the most profitable movie ever made, based on return of investment at least. The movie pretty much reinvented the found-footage genre that began with “The Blair Witch Project” and it was bound to spawn sequels if only because the production costs are so cheap.

Well, the downside to that is that the creators have decided to follow the deeply-uninteresting “Saw” technique of having all of their movies stick to the same hackneyed story line, which is good news for Katie Featherston, who made it out of the original alive, albeit possessed by something supernatural, in that she gets to appear in all of the films. The unfortunate news for moviegoers is that we have to try and keep the pieces of the puzzle straight from movie to movie, and are forced to believe that, no matter how many “Paranormal Activity” movies Paramount will continue to churn out, that most everyone who comes in contact with Featherston is filming their lives in case things go real bad.

I will give “Paranormal Activity 4” credit for one thing, at least: this time, the “filmmakers” are a couple of teens hoping to catch a little paranormal activity on their webcams, and the way the makers work the Xbox Kinect into the film is the lone moment of creativity. Otherwise, expect lots of downtime in “Paranormal 4’s” boring first hour, followed by a little bit of thrills, followed by an ending that sets up — yup, you guessed it — the inevitable “Paranormal Activity 5.”

★ out of ★★★★

Rated R for images of violence and strong language. 95 minutes, 2012.

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman. Starring: Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively.

For more of Jesse Hoheisel’s reviews, visit


Categories: Jesse Hoheisel, Reviews

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1 reply


  1. Austin’s Worst Films of 2012!!! «

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