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"Paranormal Activity 4": Formulaic's the Name of the Game 

Wednesday, Oct 10 2012

Are you an electronics moron? Are you incapable of shooting a cell phone video, much less managing the intricacies of a web cam chat? Congratulations! Your ineptitude guarantees that you'll never be haunted by the vain ghosts and demons that stalk the video-savvy humans of the Paranormal Activity films. In the latest installment of this wildly profitable series, Ben (Matt Shively), loyal boyfriend to the lovely Alex (Kathryn Newton), age 15, has mad A/V skills, and he sets video cameras up in every room of his girl's suburban Nevada home. Alex hopes the cameras will document her suspicion that the creepy little neighbor boy staying with her family has "brought something with him" into the house. As always, we the audience witness much more of the footage than its subjects, so poor Alex never sees herself, for example, floating above her own bed while sound asleep. Screenwriter Christopher Landon, along with co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, make a truly lame attempt at establishing a supernatural mythology to explain all this, but their real energies go to amping up the jarring sound cues, darting shadows, and last-shot shocker (so goofily weird this time that you'll laugh out loud) that make this franchise a perennial crowd-pleaser.

About The Author

Chuck Wilson


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