If you haven’t seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies, they’re essentially all the same: a family, conveniently able to video record multiple angles inside their home, captures their torment at the whim of some poltergeist or other.
We say, “See anything but this.”
HOWE: This is the best Paranormal Activity movie I have seen so far. Maybe that’s because it’s the only Activity movie I have seen, and saying that, I’m glad I haven’t punished myself by having to witness such drivel from the earlier installments.
TAYLOR: I’ve hated all these movies. I watched the first one and thought at the time, “Well, that was a nice gimmick, too bad the film bounced between annoying and boring.” I watched the second one on fast forward, every time it became night, I’d press play, just to see the so-called spooky bits. I skipped the third one completely.
HOWE: Was it just me or did you also leave a little confused at the end? There were a few things that weren’t answered, which I understand because it is a paranormal movie and strange things happen. The writer didn’t seem to have a clue and thought the viewer wouldn’t notice that the plot didn’t make sense.
TAYLOR: I’m not sure there was a plot. I guess technically it’s possible as there were things that happened in the film. Usually a script is about one page per minute of film, but I bet the script for this film was 22 pages containing sentences like, “Long shot of empty staircase. Nothing happens for a long time. A little boy stands and stares.”
HOWE: It felt like they filmed a cat sleeping on the couch for at least five minutes. Here’s a tip for all young film makers that don’t have a huge budget: Get a laptop, press record on webcam, throw in some actors getting tossed about, and there you have it. Your very own homemade Paranormal movie, which will probably be a lot more frightening.
TAYLOR: It makes me angry that this is the number one film in the country. There are better films playing. Argo will probably be nominated for Oscars, (Perhaps not deservedly, but because there seems to be slim picking this year.) Sinister is a fine horror movie with real scares, not just a series of long, quiet, static shots followed by a second of action. The Paranormal series are cheaply made films, with little known actors that follow a successful business model, catering to the bulk of the movie going public. It doesn’t make it art. It doesn’t make it good. However, if they keep making money, they’ll keep being produced. So I ask you, target audience, to consider spending your money on quality rather than crap. See Sinister, See Silent Hill 2: Revelation 3D. See anything else. You’re always going to get more of what you continue to pay for.
–– Taylor gives Paranormal Activity 4 zero out of five, it doesn’t even deserve quantification.
–– Howe gives it half a cat out of five.
Paranormal Activity 4 is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
–– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film critics living in Vernon, B.C.