UTG’S 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: “Paranormal Activity 4”


Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no one day is more loved by the UTG staff than Halloween. With the arrival of October, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a plethora of features and special announcements we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day, including the one you’re about to read.

31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring daily feature that will run throughout the month of October. The hope and goal of this column is to supply every UTG reader with a daily horror movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your Halloween festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you’ll follow along at home. If you have a suggestion, contact us and we may include your favorite scarefest in an upcoming column!

Day 22: Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

There are plenty of staples of horror movie plot devices – zombies are not the same thing as infected, the slasher always comes back from the dead, nothing ever comes from the sound when you check it out because whatever caused it is already behind you, etc. There are also plenty of staples of the genre itself, too – with an abundance of sequels being one of them. Paranormal Activity 4 beats down this problem by having a better ending than the second or third in the series, and by including more humor than previous entries.

The concept of this series has always been simple: A demon lives in a house, people live in the same house, chaos ensues. This formula is not strayed from, although a new little touch is added: in Paranormal Activity 4, the house is fine… until a neighborhood boy’s mother gets hurt and the son, Robbie, is forced to live in the house for a few days. You’ll be forced to hate the character of Robbie quickly, as he’s stubbornly awkward from the get go, and answers questions with either silence or ominous answers. Instead of constant torture from the supernatural being, though, this movie features the invisible creature playing with the boy and dicking with the adults. This is why I say it has far more intentional humor: it’s no longer about “holy shit!” and jumping in your seat, and instead relying on your expectations and enjoying that both the film makers and audience have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. My favorite part – besides the omega creepy ending – is when Robbie attempts to tell a teenage guy that “he doesn’t like you”, and the banter that ensues. I don’t want to spoil anything more, but there’s a handful of big shocks, great laughs, and a payoff scare that tie it all together.

The Paranormal Activity series has always relied on environment for most of its scares – not necessarily cheap thrills of something shocking coming out of nowhere and loud music blaring at you, forcing you to jump, but merely being atmospherically creepy. A demon is living in your house, the theater is dark, and there is no music where you would expect horror movie music to be; it’s as uncomfortable as it gets for a movie viewing. This is no different here; half of the thrill is going to the theater and hearing everyone we react and reacting with them. Paranormal Activity 4, is meant to be watched in a crowded theater, with a few of your friends, the lights off, and no one able to hide that they did jump over what made them jump. It’s something perfect to see with Halloween around the corner. You can watch the trailer below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Xn2JqH5ng]

Be sure to catch it in theaters now – its a much better experience that way.

Review by: Dan Bogosian [Twitter]

Dan Bogosian

I finished school with a music theory degree. Before I finished school, I was a janitor. You really should apologize to all the janitors you've ever had. You hurt them. Seriously. You did.

But, now that we've cleared that up and you called your high school janitor, know that I quit being a janitor to pursue writing about music. So here I am, and here you are, and hey how are you?
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  • Edgar Allen

    Thank you for posting another awesome review, Dan! I have a
    small club of horror fans that I work with at DISH, and we all decided to go
    check out Paranormal Activity 4 on Saturday. We have a new girl that wants to
    join the club, but she hasn’t seen many horror movies. I had the whole group
    over for a marathon Friday night where we streamed the first three flicks from
    my Hopper DVR. She handled those movies pretty well, but after seeing number 4
    on Saturday I thought she was going to faint. It was kind of awesome. As for
    the movie, it is more of the same, but that’s what makes it such a great
    Halloween series.