What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
Blu-ray Review: ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ is Bottom of Found Footage Barrel
CHICAGO – The “Paranormal Activity” franchise has been in steady decline since its relatively ingenious first film but I never expected quite the drop off to absolute garbage as comes in the fourth installment, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD and worth no one’s time. Stunningly boring and arguably the worst offender of the common “they wouldn’t still be filming” aspect of the found footage genre, this is lazy filmmaking on every level.
“Paranormal Activity 4” picks up in 2011, five years after Katie (Katie Featherston) disappeared with her nephew Hunter after killing her sister, brother-in-law, and husband. No one has seen them since. Until they move in next door to the hapless victims of this piece, led by a teenage girl named Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her younger brother. Alex spends much of the film on Skype (or some other webchat), which allows for a whole lot of over-the-shoulder shots of our lovely lead in the camera frame and a doorway sure to be occupied by something creepy over her shoulder. Despite some clever references (there’s a nice nod to “The Shining”), “Paranormal Activity 4” just has no personality. The pace is wrong and it doesn’t really produce any honest scares until the final minutes. And it commits the most cardinal sin of horror — it’s boring. Sleep-inducing boring. Ten minutes from the end and I didn’t mind that I was interrupted boring. It’s really amazing to consider how far this series has fallen in just a few years. Like “Saw,” the first film is really the only worthwhile one. Hopefully, like “Saw,” they’ll realize that soon and stop the supernatural madness.
Paranormal Activity 4 was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 29, 2013
Photo credit: Paramount
When Katie disappeared with her nephew Hunter, there were no survivors. Five years later she’s returned with a mysterious boy, ready to target new victims with her demonic rage. Now, a family’s young daughter will capture every one of the terrifying occurrences, beginning with her new neighbors’ arrival. It all leads to an “ending so intense, it will leave you shaking.” Billy Donnelly, Ain’t It Cool News
o Theatrical and Unrated Version Included
o “The Recovered Files”
o Digital Copy Included