‘Paranormal Activity,’ what a terrifying waste of time

This film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Kathryn Newton in a scene from “Paranormal Activity 4.” The film was released last Friday.
Associated Press

By Amando Dominick

Staff Writer

As an avid horror movie fan, I was eager for the release of the newest “Paranormal Activity.”

“Paranormal Activity 4” is the latest film in the “Activity” series, and many had hyped it up to be a good one.

I excitedly waited several months in hopes of leaving Waco’s Starplex Cinema startled at every shadow and wary to hang out with any people named Toby.

However, as I left the theater, I took it upon myself to rename the film, “A waste of $4.50 of my admission.”

Because I had seen the previous three films, I knew the formula for the sequence of events.

I knew that I was going to have to sit through about an hour and 10 minutes of rather boring set-up, but the last 10 minutes of the film would tie everything together and really get my heart rate up.

As the movie approached its final ten minutes, my formula seemed to hold true as the occurrences in the film began to force me to the edge of my seat.

With this notion in mind, I was sorely disappointed by the film’s final few minutes and especially its ending.

I expected, as in the second and third films, for the last sequence of events to be some terrifying nightmare of happenings that would haunt my dreams and make me scared to open my closet doors for weeks.

However, just like every haunted house and the movie’s three predecessors, “Paranormal Activity 4” does not rely on genuine horror in the conventional sense.

Instead, the film abuses the anticipation of events, and does it so much so that it has become an absolute crutch for the entire series.

By this statement, I mean that the vast majority of time spent in this movie is the viewer sitting in the audience terrified of something that has not happened, is not happening, and will not happen. Instead, they are scared of things that have the possibility of happening at any given moment.

The movie relied on floating objects, eerie occurrences and a silent soundtrack to spook the audience.

This works occasionally in horror movies, but one cannot base an entire series of films around the same concept and not expect the audience to grow tired of the fragile scare the movie delivers.

There were many times in the film that I found myself and those around me questioning aloud why characters, when presented with questionable situations, would pursue the demonic forces deeper into its lair for no real, apparent gain.

To be fair, there is another side to this film.

Aside from the lack of deeply disturbing or frightening activities one would expect to find in a good horror movie, this film did do a lot to advance the over-arching plotline of the series as a whole.

I feel that although this film could not, and does not, stand alone as a great horror film, it is an integral and necessary portion for the storyline as a whole.

An aspect of the film that I did enjoy was the “Cloverfield”-esque first-person camera. The teenage protagonist Alex, played by Kathryn Newton, used her laptop’s webcam for most of the film, and this really helped the audience become engaged in her personally and be concerned for her well being.

Also, I enjoyed her friend Ben, played by Matthew Shively, whose sarcasm brought a dose of reality and humor to the film.

Overall, I would recommend “Paranormal Activity 4” to anyone who is a fan of the series.

For those who are just getting into the “Paranormal” series, watch the first three movies before venturing into the theater for this one.