Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Reviewed by R.T.K.

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

Four years ago, I, along with the entire country was surprised with the release of ‘paranormal activity’. Which I honestly expected to come scare us and disappear and just be “that movie” that came out of nowhere scared the shit out of us and moved on. I was satisfied. Much to the delight we were blessed with a sequel that wrapped up the story for us and thoroughly scared us while ramping up the scares with a whopping new budget. I was satisfied. I will be honest and say when the third was announced I was excited, but it felt forced at first then I, like the rest of the country, was swayed but the awesome trailer that filled me with chills when you saw the menacing silhouette standing but inches away from two innocent girls….I flipped out, I dropped all doubts and expected to never sleep again after this movie. Then when I read another review before I saw the movie, which I do not recommend…unless it’s one of my reviews, it boasted, and I quote, “the last 15 minutes will ruin your night” I couldn’t wait! With credits rolling, I stared at the screen in a bit of shock, I heard several murmurs of my fellow theater goers, they were disappointed, I was too, not that the movie was bad, believe me I was terrified I yelled out several times in horror, hid behind my popcorn, and jumped on strangers looking comfort. The main problem I had was the ending did not “ruin my night”. The ending was strong and it definitely scared me but I was promised too much so I expected too much. Half my fault for hoping, half their fault for not delivering, I was still satisfied. So as a quick over view of the franchise: 1 my favorite, 2 completed the story, 3 added questions least favorite.

So here I am my heart racing in anticipation for the 4th installment. The movie starts off with an over view of what happened in the second movie where Kate has kidnapped hunter. Starting off like all the other movies we find ourselves at some normal family time with a little boy named Wyatt(Adrian Lovekamp) playing soccer while the camera goes back and forth while catching glimpses of a melancholic looking boy  standing on the sidelines watching the game. After the game is over they have a little picnic where you learn some character traits names, ages, and the parent’s crappy relationship. All this is being recorded by Wyatt’s older sister Alex (Kathryn newton). On the drive home they see the same little boy walking home alone. When Alex boyfriend, ben (Matt Shively) comes over she explains that the little creepy boy lives across the street with his mom single mom, who we discover is Katie (Katie Featherstone) from the other movies.  Later that night Alex and her boyfriend retreat to the back yard and up to the play house they have climbing up the ladder using the camera as light looking around showing off the lovely sheets laid down on the dirty floor he turns to HOLY FUCK!! Jesus Christ creepy ass kid sitting in the corner…the little boy from across street named Robbie (Brady Allen). Alex then takes the little cock block home some nights go by with weird noises and hat not then one night while Alex is video chatting and hears sirens quite close to her home realizing the sirens and light symphony is right outside her door, next door to be exact, Katie gets taken away in an ambulance and the little creepy bastard is staying…guess where… Alex’s mom holly (Alexander Lee) offers to take the little boy in. while he is unpacking he reveals that some of his provisions including a 100 year old teddy

bear and a magical fork that can tell the future…hmm…k. Wyatt and Robbie head out to the play place where, when asked about who they are talking to, Robbie says they are talking to his imaginary friend Toby. When Alex tries to play along by saying “oh yeah I see him, hi there Toby” he responds very fiercely saying she can’t see him and to stop pretending. Later that night Alex and ben come down to see the younglings playing Xbox Kinect with Wyatt playing against…no one. Robbie is sitting on the couch. Wyatt is punching away at the opposite avatar which is swinging back!? Ben asked who he was playing and Robbie says against his friend. The avatar on the screen is freaking creepy as all hell while it moves on its own. Alex inquires as to how in the actual hell its possible he’s doing that, she is interrupted by ben wanting to show a cool trick with the Kinect and the camera. Once the lights are shut off and the night vision is on you can see all the infrared tracking dots all over the room. I enjoyed this lot because the night vision trick is…I don’t want to say over used, but a major portion of the story is dependent on the use of this effect, but the fact they adding the tracking dots interested me because I can really see where this is going…and I like it. The played back footage reveals and figure you see moving thanks to the tracking dot…told you. Extremely interesting way to reveal an entity. The next morning ben shares the interesting fact that his laptop records automatically even when the chat is not open. Upon showing the footage to her it is realized that Robbie creepily snuck into her room and got some second base spooning action while she slept. She then proposes her boyfriend sets up all the cameras to constantly record to capture the strange thing happening in her house. Then shit starts going down and getting strange. Robbie comes down and has a chit chat with toby who is in the TV screen. Presumably still playing Xbox. Another night Robbie wakes up Wyatt to go down stairs to chase and invisible kid around the house. After each of these nights the days are filled with Alex trying to convince her parents that Robbie brought something into the house….and like all horror movies the dads a non-believer and mom is a conflict avoider so she ignores any warning or evidence. Then one day Wyatt’s parents go out. Robbie asks Wyatt if he wants to meet toby….this can’t be good. Alex and ben get worried after hearing a noise they run upstairs to find Robbie going Vincent Van Gouh all over Wyatt’s body so he can meet toby. One of the symbols included in the artistry looks a little familiar…it’s the same one from the third movie that the cult had put up around the house. After some research they find out it stands for a coven made when the first born child must be taken. You know the whole story that we are caught up with, it’s nice these kids have caught up with us. Another night, while Kate is still in the hospital, Alex notices several cars parked in front of her house. She observes all the people walking into the house. While she goes over to investigate she is quickly meet and asked if should could be helped she apologizes and runs back home.   More nights of even more intense scares.  Toys turning on by themselves, little plastic toys lining the hall ways leading to the closet etc.etc.  parents are gone yet again leaving the children to be babysat by Alex. She catches them on camera walking across the street to Katie’s home who, as far as we know, is still in the hospital. Alex follows them over and after noticing the door ajar, walks in. all the furniture is still covered with sheets doesn’t look lived in at all. She begins looking around for the boys. One problem I would like point out is with first person shooting camera style is I feel I should have an explanation as to why they are recording the particular scene. I didn’t feel like she should have been recording at that particular moment. Seems I would have just left the camera and went after the kid. Anyway after she finds the kids she insists they head home immediately. Upon heading towards the front door they run into….Katie?!? I thought she was in the hospital. Well she takes Robbie back right there and everything seems a-ok. Alex tries hard to point out the obvious incongruities with the kids knowing that Katie was home bit the mother brushes it off and life goes on as normal for the rest of the day. After asking Wyatt what he talked about with Katie. He says that Robbie was adopted just like Robbie…adopted? Oh shit I see what’s going on…Katie tells him that his other family needs him back….well later that night my worst fears are confirmed. Wyatt gets up to talk to Toby on the TV. Holy mother of….you can see in the tracking dots a silhouette following Wyatt slowly coming up on him while he argues with Toby insisting his name is not….hunter! Oh Christ that’s hunter! The little baby that Katie took…in…The…end…of the 2nd movie and then apparently gave him up for adoption after she kidnapped him…what that doesn’t make sense, did I miss something? Well the little boy rolling up on him is still creepy. Mom turns the lights on just time before he reaches Wyatt.  Well Toby is very convincing because shortly after he begins to call himself hunter and writing it on his walls. Later that night Wyatt comes into Alex’s room, covers ripped off, starts levitating. Next night parents gone somewhere…again. She’s video chatting it up when she hears the garage door open. Going out to look she sees that the door is halfway up and stuck. Calls it broken and put it back down. Back in the living room we see Katie appear out of nowhere! And head straight for the upstairs while Wyatt runs and hides. Alex hangs up with ben, right after that she hears the door go back up. Now a little more scared, she heads back out the door slams behind her, the garage door slams shit and the car turns on by itself and starts spewing exhaust into the garage. This doesn’t look too good for Alex. Back upstairs Katie is at Wyatt’s closet door where he is hiding telling him that he almost ready and she’ll be there when he is. Oh so she gave him up so someone else can raise him to the proper age for….the sacrifice? That’s pretty lazy for a demon and dumb considering she already had the child in her possession. Anyhow down in the garage Alex is choking to her certain death, but! She finds a nice big golf club and smashes in the window unlocks the door and reverses the car right through the garage door right into her certain freedom! Next scene a hysterical Alex tries to explain to her actions to a pair of skeptical parents. By the way none of this footage can be played back for the parents because only ben knew how to play video back on a MacBook. The next morning Alex’s dad offers to take Alex out because of the traumatic experience she had the night before while out doing their thing Alex’s mom can be seen on the phone. The camera changes to the living room where…oh shit its Katie…she makes her way upstairs while Alex walks into the living room after hearing a noise she get close to the TV and while she is slowly backing away from the camera you hear her bump into nothing….uh oh she’s done for . Her hair blows as we hear a low growl…then BOOM!! She’s off into the air and SMASH! Head cracked on the floor. Katie comes out and drags the body out the front door, presumably to hide it. Shortly after that, ben shows up…fucking ben…I liked him actually and now he’s next. He walks around for a while looking for whoevers home. Up in Alex’s room he looks up close to examine some piece of footage on the screen, when backs away from the screen, AAHHHHH GOD!! She’s right fuckin behind you!! Katie is revealed in the shot and she back to her old tricks and she snaps that friggin neck, dayum! Then drags the body to Alex’s closet which should be a nice surprise. Now Alex and dad come rolling up to see a mass of cars in front of Katie’s to see that Katie is walking Wyatt in to the house. Dad gets out to see what the hell is going on while Alex goes home to warn the mom only find an empty house. Up in her room she calls ben and hears Ben’s phone ringing from in her closet. When she goes to investigate her nice surprise. BOOM! Shot right out of her closet onto the bed. At least she is smart enough to run the hell out of there to Katie’s house to get dad. Once inside Katie’s she quickly discovers that dad is being dragged by his sorry ass all around the house. She runs to a room that her dad was dragged to only to find it empty….so she…slowly walks to the window….that covered in newspaper….oh shit there’s gonna be a jump scare ……she rips the newspaper off the window…nothing. Then she hears Wyatt yell for help she turns around to see Katie in the hall way. Awww hell. She pleads for Katie not to hurt her. As soon as she says that Katie bolts right at her and OHH SHIIIIIITTT!!!!! The

changes into demon face, Alex slams the door and Katie smashes her head through in an attempt to slaughter Alex. Well she hops right out the window and runs into little Wyatt. Ok grab the kid and fuckin run! The damn kid won’t budge…great. She turns around to see a rather large crowd surrounding in on here, the cult from the 3rd one. She turns around to make a break for it when OHHHFUUUCKCKKCCKC!!!!! Fragging demon right in her face screaming!

End. The credits roll…..I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk. I sat until I regained my consciousness. Again, all around I heard people, picking little parts up from their conversations, they didn’t like it. I am happy to say I could not agree with them less. Terrified, that ending is the things nightmares are made of. As soon as I got over my terror, I’m not gonna lie I had my questions. Why give baby hunter up for adoption if you were just gonna take him back anyway? Is that what they are going to explain in the 5th movie?? I don’t think that should take a whole other film. Is there going to be a 5th one? Even as I walked and contemplated these ponderings. I still can’t complain because of how wholly I was scared, how much I yelled in fright. What can I say it was a great film.

Acting: 5/5 always impressed when kids can convince me of their character, everyone was great.

Music: N/A no music…actually during a scene they play Dragula by Rob Zombie…so 5/5

Production:4/5 the highest of production cost I honestly didn’t notice the extra million they added to the budget since last movie still amazing, the same effects as the last movie

Story: 3/5 don’t understand the whole adoption angle, if she never gave him up the movie would not have even existed so its relevance is hanging on by too much of a thread

Scary: 5/5 can’t sleep; demon will eat me…..

Overall: 4/5 pumpkins! GO SEE IT!

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