(Spoilers For Previous Films)
Last week the new trailer “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” was released to a loud and definite….meh reaction. This franchise has certainly faced some big franchise fatigue. Which is also in part (fairly or unfairly) because of the “Paranormal Activity” lookalikes with movies like “Devil’s Due” and “The Last Exorcism” during the whole found footage craze era of horror movies. Yet it is fair to say that a lot of it had to with the franchise’s own decline in quality.
The original 2007 film is a good horror movie. It wasn’t a masterpiece but it was an interesting, well done, “fear what’s in the dark” low budget horror movie. “Paranormal Activity 2” was a step down but wasn’t a terrible sequel. “Paranormal Activity 3” was a step back in the right direction. While not matching the original film’s quality it still had a few excellent and well designed scenes that made for a far better watch than Part 2. After that however is where everything started to go downhill. “Paranormal Activity 4” felt like a filler episode in a TV show than a full length film. While it also making the mistake of being pretty boring. Anyone who has read my review for “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” knows my strong distaste for that film, (an absolutely a poor excuse for a horror movie).
So by now “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension”, being the final film, feels like the final nail in the coffin (no pun intended). The studio has finally acknowledges the series continued declines and smaller box office returns and tries to do “the epic finale” cliché we’ve had the past few years with “Harry Potter” and “The Hangover” ;”The Dark Knight Rises”, and “Taken 3” films all doing that marketing ploy. Of course “Harry Potter” “The Dark Knight Rises” were surly more deserving of that marketing than this shoe string budget horror film. This isn’t even the first horror movie to attempt that either. Anyone else remember “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare”? Or how about the two different finales from “Friday the 13”? The horror genre is notorious for coming back after their supposed finale. Even the “Saw” franchise, whose original title for their 7th and final film was “Saw: The Final Chapter” (before trying to cash in on the 3D craze and switching it to “Saw 3D”) and there have been comments where people are looking to revisit the franchise with an 8th film. So, I will wait until I actually see this before I believe will be the last one.
Plus if there is one huge problem with this series is each movie brings in new story elements making the story larger and larger but then also leaves huge story threads after each finale. The movies started going so big that there was time travel in “The Marked Ones”. The first three did add new layers to the story but it still felt cohesive like it driving towards something. Now there are an army of witches all around the world, there is time travel, marked ones…..how do you wrap all that up in 90 minutes while also introducing a new family and new story elements (like the “Spiderwick” camera and the “haunted” video tapes that looks like a take-off of the plot of “Sinister”?) For some reason I feel like there may be a few elements that will be wrapped up but plenty of other unanswered questions.
The trailer to this latest (and final film( actually started off really good. The video tapes sequences in the beginning of the trailer actually creep me out. Then the rest felt lazy while a lot of the new elements felt so out of line from what the rest of series established. But. then again since there was time travel in the previous film so I guess there is no such thing as jumping the shark in this series. I hate being so negative because I would like to see a really good finale to the series. I enjoy the first three films and would like to see this end on a high note but truth be told I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about all of this.