Terrifying? Or just terrible?

If you stopped by Casa de Chris at some point within the next few weeks you will notice two things. First, I am awesomely, amazingly sexy. That goes without saying. Second, I really like decorating for Christmas. I've got the trees, the stockings, decorative towels, pot holders, candles, lights, the works. Really Christmas is a fantastic holiday. Of course, as with anything good and pure, it is possible to get violently ill from over doing it, right Milk Duds?

So, when the holiday season threatens to overwhelm my weak little mind, I like to fall back on my favorite holiday, Halloween. I love Halloween, with the genuine romantic feelings men normally only hold for one special lady, or that video of the monkey drinking his own pee. As such, I have quite the collection of horror themed films in my collection, films that get a good amount of play in my home. I just picked up the Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray Collection at Best Buy, and couldn't be happier. But sometimes Freddy isn't what you want. Sometimes you need some slower paced, ghost related scares. With that in mind I...acquired...Paranormal Activity 4 and gave it a whirl. And...um...wow.

Oh Paranormal Activity, where do I begin with you? You started with such promise, well OK, maybe that is a stretch, you started with SOME promise. I still remember being excited by the ad campaign, and sitting down at the theater in the Mall of America with TJ, and not leaving all that let down. Oh sure, the ending sucked, but one could look past that and see a clever take on the classic spooky formula. All in all it was an enjoyable film that, if nothing else ever came of it, worked as a good campfire style ghost story.

As an aside to this, I feel I should defend both my taste in film, and this series of films, I strongly believe that the Paranormal Activity films are NOT horror films, they are ghost stories put to film; there is a vast difference. In horror, scares are driven by suspense, as Stephen King once put it, and I paraphrase, of course, the scariest thing in the world is a locked door. Good horror lies behind that door, and true fear lives in the bare inches that exist between the door knob and your outstretched hand. Ghost stories don't reside in this world, or even this universe. In a ghost story, the goal is to make you jump at some point because the calls are COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!! Cue gasps and giggles. We don't feel suspense in a ghost story because we know we are going to have something jump out and yell "Booga Booga" at some point, and that point will be when the person telling the story slows down and looks serious. Paranormal Activity was a filmed ghost story, quite literally slowing down and looking serious whenever something was going down.

When I had heard they were making a sequel, I had mixed reactions, mostly wondering how they would continue the story, or if they would pull a Blair Witch 2 and go in a totally different direction. They didn't. At all. Still, I give the filmmakers credit for pulling a  story out of the one shot that was P.A.1.

The third film was Poltergeist without the interesting stuff the Poltergeist had. So Poltergeist 2 and 3. And no one likes Poltergeist 2 and 3. Not even Tom Skerritt.

"And I CHOSE to be in Poison Ivy. Put's things in perspective, huh?"

Thus brings us to Paranormal Activity 4, and I have given up. Seriously, I am done with this franchise. For as interesting and creative as it started, it has descended into this looping hell that shows no sign of stopping. This film is no different from the first 3 films, and by that I mean NOT.DIFFERENT.AT.ALL. There has been no attempt to bring new elements into the story, new techniques of showing ghosts, no attempt to have conflict of any kind whatsoever. After four films (8 hours sitting by the campfire), we have a scary invisible man, that is kind of visible on Kinect, a crazy woman who reminds me of Pam from the Office who is all evil and stuff, and some coven of maybe witches. Oh, and one weird kid who vanishes never to be heard from again midway thru 4. A kid, mind you, who is a main character. He vanishes. No one mentions him. Just gone.

I know the films are cheap to make, and that the original film makers have about as much to do with the franchise now as Bob Kane has control of Batman, but seriously, these films have gotten to the point where they are insulting on an intellectual level. Don't get me wrong, I don't think every film has to be "The Tree of Life" or anything, but I do expect my movies to at least surpass "Son-in-law" or at the very least "Trial and Error" starring Michael Richards, but these films aren't even hitting those lows. They are digging all new lows, beneath the Hobbit Holes of Birdemic and The Room. For as bad as those films are, at least they tried. They weren't cynical cash grabs preying on the stupidity of the average movie goer, and hoping that each time they go to the well of stupid, they shant find it dry.

I have never actually been mad at a movie before, not really, punch you in the venison jerky mad. Paranormal Activity 4 made me mad. I can't think of a better way to put it. If it was a person, I would not invite it to my birthday party. And, while at that party, I would spread mean lies about how Paranormal Activity 4 wets the bed, and once tried to touch the librarian's boobs.

I know, she's so OLD!!

Gross Paranormal Activity 4, just gross.

So I guess what I am getting at with all of this is, if you are stopping by, bring something Christmas-y, I like to decorate.


Grade - F

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