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Review: ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ Is a Low Point For a Series That’s Hopefully Finished

paranormal activity review

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is the sixth and reportedly final entry in the franchise that made Blumhouse the found-footage empire that it is today.

Like its predecessors, Ghost Dimension doesn’t stray from its strict checklist of tropes: its story ties into the first movie, it begins with a happy family, things slowly descend into chaos as the main character haphazardly films everything, and all hell breaks loose in the final ten minutes.

I’ve enjoyed watching each of the Paranormal Activity movies over the years, despite their flaws and dedication to its own established formula. In fact, the formula usually works because they introduce new techniques with the found-footage gimmick to scare inventively. They’re all C movies, but my goodwill for the first one has always kept me returning each year.

That said, The Ghost Dimension lacks any sort of invention that made the previous films interesting to sit through. To be fair, The Marked Ones also suffered from this problem, but the film at least had the audacity to dispatch a shootout to these mostly ethereal confrontations. But Ghost Dimension offers nothing new except for a plot device that undermines anything you found frightening about these movies in the first place (assuming you found them scary to begin with).

paranormal activity review

Early on in the film, the family’s patriarch (Chris J. Murray) comes across a video camera from the house’s previous owners, along with tapes that date back to 1988. We see that the tapes selectively show what happened to the young girls from Paranormal Activity 3 after their mother and her boyfriend are killed by illustrious demon, “Tobey,” and their grandmother.

The film tries throughout to answer some of the persistent questions we’ve had since Paranormal Activity 2, such as the explanation for what really happened to the girls’ mother, why the house didn’t burn down, what the coven truly wants, etc. But many obvious questions more central to the present plots involving Hunter Rey are ultimately ignored.

By the end of The Ghost Dimension, however, you’ll likely stop caring.

The bulking, era-defying aspect ration camera they find allows them to “see” the activity, and this gimmick serves as the film’s only new offering (in order to sell tickets for a 3D film, of course). A major problem, as you can surmise, is that seeing the frights come alive is much less frightening than what your imagination can come up with, and the hackneyed combinations of cameras that mix up when you can see and when you can’t do little to set up true scares.

paranormal activity review

For this reason, it’s typical Paranormal Activity fare that maintains all of the series’ problems without delivering anything good enough to distract you from the illogical sound effects and improbable plot structure surrounding a lore that’s become increasingly tiresome.

Grade: F

In the past, I’ve recommended even the worst of these films to dedicated fans, but this is the first activity you can surely skip. It merely exists to squeeze 3D ticket sales out of a small-budget movie with cheap effects that show off just how little the creators care about their flagship franchise at this point.

For a more in-depth look at The Ghost Dimension, check back in this Sunday for the Now Conspiring podcast, where we’ll discuss this and other new releases.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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Trailer Breakdown – “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones”

paranormal activity: the marked ones

Guys, I’m going to be pretty clear here. I love me some Paranormal Activity, whether it be 3,4,5, the Marked Ones, or the Tyler Perry version that doesn’t exist yet.

Go on…Trailer Breakdown – “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones”

Review: ‘The Purge’

The makers behind Paranormal Activity and Insidious really understand how to make horror movies, at least financially.

After all, the return on investment for their films is astonishing.

Recall that Paranormal Activity only cost $15,000 to make and brought in almost $200 million. Every sequel since has replicated this, albeit with higher budgets.

This weekend, The Purge, debuted at #1 in the box office, already making its entire budget in the first weekend. In a decade when horror movies aren’t exactly a safe bet for investors, Jason Blum has managed to change that with his high-concept horror movies that seem to really bring in audiences.

So, is The Purge worth watching? You’ve probably heard some bad buzz. It has been panned by critics who were disappointed at the misuse of the film’s interesting concept of what would happen if crime was legal for 12 hours.

Casual film goers have been giving mixed to bad reviews, proving that this isn’t just a critical dismissal.

The problem with The Purge is two-fold for me. The biggest issue is how limited they were with the premise. Here you have this wonderfully original backdrop for a great commentary on laws, utilitarianism, and the actual effects of unrestricted humanity.

The movie does little to address the interesting themes surrounding man’s depravity and our ill attempts at restraining it.

The second issue I had, and many casual viewers had, was the “in-your-face” subtext that sent a clearer message than I think they attempted. They basically could have called it, “This is What Would Happen If the Tea Party Won” and “Class Warfare 101.”

You see, the orchestrators behind this ridiculous “Purge” law are a political party that is eerily alludes to the conservative “Tea Party.” I don’t really have a problem with this concept, except that it is handled so terribly and offensively.

The real message behind this law, if you really think about it, is that the best way to handle the poor is to let criminals wipe them out once a year (hence it is called the “Purge”).

After all, the only people who are safe from the “Purge” are the rich, and the villains of the movie are clearly upper-class maniacs who are letting their true nature shine once a year.

It’s just so obvious and obtuse. Class warfare commentary was already really old when In Time came out. The whole Robin Hood thing is just getting preachy at this point, and this is coming from someone who is far from rich.

So, no I don’t think this movie is very special. It doesn’t have an interesting horror story behind it that you haven’t seen before, and the exhausting subtext does nothing to alleviate that.

There is already a sequel in the works, and I actually look forward to seeing if they can get it right the second time, but for now, this is a “nothing else to watch” rental.

 

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