The Paranormal Activity movies have been evenly scary. The found footage format is one that inherently breaks the fourth wall and this franchise has been using this pretext for proximity to its advantage up until now. Paranormal Activity 4 once again turns dust into bronze by stretching the mythos. The events of Part 4 take place after those of Part 1; Part 2 and 3 being technical prequels.
Part 1 focused on an adult cast, Part 2 a baby, and Part 3 on two children. Part 4 centers on an average teenager from a generation born with a camera in hand. She and her friends use webcams and smart phones, so a lot of the footage we see is implicitly broadcast live over the internet. The introduction of interactive video makes the dialogue warmer and often more dramatic or suspenseful.
Once again, the franchise reinvents itself graphically within the subgenre’s boundaries. In this installment, a Kinect camera with infrared tracking dots steals the show. It looks great but comes with its share of plot holes. The cast is well-rounded and perhaps the most interesting ensemble so far, but they are pranksters and the source of a ridiculous amount of frustrating fake jump scares.