The Paranormal Activity movies are an interesting phenomenon (is that an accidental pun?) in the world of cinema. What started out as an effective, cheaply made, indie flick has now bloomed full on into a Hollywood juggernaut, and looks on track to becoming the next Saw-like yearly horror franchise. The similarities between the two continue as their sequels even out in numbers too, because while Saw became increasingly more convoluted and weird with each movie, so are the PA films. I remember seeing Saw 3 in theaters and thinking – “Well, how the hell are they gonna make a sequel now? Jigsaw is dead!” Oh shit. Spoilers? Bah, that movie is years old anyway, and it’s pretty shitty, so really I’m doing you a favor. Back on topic, I remember thinking how they could possibly stretch that franchise out post-Jigsaw, and sure enough, they found a way. Some could argue it was clever, but I’d simply say those people have clearly never heard of the concept of the “ret-con”, which any comics fan will be very familiar with.
The same is already applying with Paranormal Activity, but it’s somehow become even more full of plot holes and contrivances, with 4 fewer movies than the Saw franchise. I enjoyed the first movie immensely, and thought the second was a creative continuation/prequel. The third seemed to be getting a bit old, despite some creative gimmickry, mostly because of contradictions passed off as “mysteries to be solved” for later sequels, as well as the many cool looking promotional material and trailers. Even if they had nothing to do with what the movie was actually about, nor did they even have that footage in the film. Add in all the anachronistic mistakes prevalent in the film, and it really started to scream “I WAS PHONED IN” at the audience. [Editor's Note - The last 10 minutes of PA3 scared the shit out of me. That is all.]
So what am I getting at? Basically I’m hoping that this new PA movie will retcon the bad things from PA3 that made no sense, and re-establish itself as a really well made, well acted, realistic exploration of the paranormal, without making any more excessive trips into stupid-town to give us all a SHOCKING TWIST ENDING of Shyamalanian contrivance.
If I was directing these movies, I’d pull a Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch, and make them self-contained episodic films, each taking place in a new house, new family, and lay down a framework of back story about the actual demon, rather than follow one dumb family that inexplicably has a long history of recording every waking moment of their lives. Unfortunately, for that to work and be accepted, they’d have to have started that with PA2.
So now we’ll take our ghostly medicine in the form of endless sequels until PA8 where it ends with Katie or Crissie or whoever is battling the ghost/demon on top of a magical spirit tower, while a coven of witches surrounds them chanting and holding newborns. Then GOD himself will appear and smite all of them, and we’ll all pass out in our seats from the retardation of the whole thing.
On a high note – Kate Featherston returns for the 4th time as ‘Katie’.