Paranormal Activity 4 – A Competent Entry to an Ageing Franchise

Yesterday I saw Paranormal Activity 4, opting for the night screening. I had been turned away the previous week due to tickets for the night screening having sold out. For horror movies, I always choose the night screenings for the atmosphere. I think subconsciously, seeing a horror movie at night increases its effectiveness to scare people. That and at night the cinema is full of boyfriends and their dates and you get the hilarity of girls freaking out at inappropriate moments.

Paranormal Activity 4 - Cover Art

Paranormal Activity 4 doesn’t really have a conventional story although there is some weak continuity from previous iterations of the film. Despite the lack of story/plot Paranormal Activity 4 can stand on its shock-value alone, maintaining a high level of tension and suspense throughout. Overall, Paranormal Activity offers nothing unique from the series apart from a few new chills and thrills and a novel use of an Xbox Kinect. The film stats to drag towards the end, although the abrupt, slightly gory finale manages to satisfactorily end the film with unanswered questions undoubtedly leading up to Paranormal Activity 5 in 2013. The acting in Paranormal Activity is still fairly unimpressive but this is almost desirable in fitting in with the found-footage style of filming that Paranormal Activity employs.

Perhaps the decline of Paranormal Activity indicates that viewers are growing tired with the found-footage genre, perhaps the novelty has worn off. This trend started with “The Blair Witch Project”, a micro-budget film that made over $240,000,000 and then Paranormal Activity that made over $190,000,000 with merely $15,000 budget. Judging from the audience reception of this franchise and indeed similar films such as The Blair Witch Project it seems that viewers are spit down the middle whether or not they even like found-footage films. This is evident by all of the Paranormal Activity films and The Blair Witch Project gaining an average of 50% for user approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

Paranormal Activity Floating

Paranormal Activity is ironically cursed with an ever decreasing critical rating, each iteration of the series rated increasingly poorly, this film only gaining 26% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing. User reception towards the film has been equally unenthusiastic with conventional horror goers growing tired of the subtlety of Paranormal Activity favouring more conventionally scary/creepy movies such as the recent horror Sinister that garnered mainly positive critical reception. I personally enjoyed the film, finding its trademark jump scares and menacing tone to be very effective. I maintain the film is not without flaws but thoroughly watchable and even ‘good’. Needless to say the audience reaction to the night screening I attended was mainly positive.


  • Pidde Andersson reported that after a Malmö screening of the film a teen ran up to the screen and kicked it and screamed about how much he disliked the film.
  • Brady Allen‘s character, Robbie, was named after Robbie Mannheim, a child that in 1959 was victim of an evil possession and he had a exorcism to save his life.


  • Acting: 3
  • Direction: 3
  • Plot: 2
  • Second Viewing Value: 4
  • Suspense: 4
  • Overall: 3

One response to “Paranormal Activity 4 – A Competent Entry to an Ageing Franchise

  1. Pingback: Latest ‘Paranormal Activity’ Movie |·

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