Thursday, October 29, 2015

[Review] Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

This is the 5th Paranormal Activity film (6th if you include the awful offshoot The Marked Ones). Despite some flaws and its hit or miss tendency, I've found the series to be pretty serviceable (I actually thought the 3rd one was great) for what it is. The Ghost Dimension turns out to be the least entertaining of them all and is a significant drop-off point, both in scare tactic value and box office numbers. People aren't sick of the paranormal--they're sick of the format that it's presented in.

It begins with the usual wasting time with mundane events, house tours, character introductions (husband & wife, their daughter, and a goofy uncle) and monkeying around with the camera. After so many times witnessing this, we just want this thing to get a move on. Anyway, they find a spiffy camera in storage that has a warped lens and apparently can see more than the average eye. They also go through some old videos that contain clips of the previous Paranormal Activity films, which comes off more as a haphazard link of research for a story/timeline that is too muddled to keep straight at this point. And as you've guessed, demonic events transpire.

On its own terms, it isn't a bad way to spend an October night. But after this genre's fresh spark, it's feeling tired stylistically. It makes traditional non-found footage horror films look at lot more enticing, as they do a better job of establishing the mood and pulling you into their shadows, while also being easier to see (less shaky cam and blurred and obscured angles) and employing more of a dramatic story structure (although there have been a lot of modern duds in the category, too).

In The Ghost Dimension, dark phantom figures lurk about once in a while, but they never seem all that threatening or shocking. The film fails to unleash any new tricks, and you'd be better off checking out the earlier ones, or something different all together this Halloween season.


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