Here’s a new thing that I’m trying out (man, I love trying out new things, have you read my Morning Commute album reviews? Those were great). I realized that I sort of dislike the way most movie reviews are written. I also think that even the shittiest movies have a reason that you might want to watch them. Even if that reason is just to watch a super shitty movie to see what all the fuss is about. Also, in the spirit of Fuck Mondays I wanted to come up with something I could do pretty half-assed. My brain is all about half-assing. So, two paragraph movie reviews! One paragraph why it sucks, one why it rocks, a single sentence at the bottom weighing the two out and maybe trying to determine if it sucks or not. So, without further ado, let’s think about Paranormal Activity 4.

220px-Paranormal_Activity_4_PosterWhy it sucks:
In terms of number of jump out of your skin moments, the 4th installment of the Paranormal Activity ranks much lower than the original and the second and probably about on par with the third. The biggest problem here is that the scares are also the same as every other film in the series. Oh fuck some shadow moved quickly across the screen! Oh shit something fell over! Oh fuck something is moving on its own that shouldn’t be able to move on its own! And so on. It also tries desperately to keep the flimsy through-line they’ve been slowly developing through the previous three films going and tries to advance an admittedly shaky plot that is supposedly tying all these films together. I don’t think anybody, including the people who made the film, really care about this meta-plot too much though. If you think about it for more than about 5 minutes you will find some glaring plot holes pretty rapidly. Finally, the actors playing the parents are either the worst actors or the worst parents in the world. They either don’t care about this film or they are decent actors who just don’t care about their children. Take your pick. Oh yeah, they also don’t even bother explaining why one of the characters obsessively films everything that’s going. It’s like they’re saying “fuck it, everyone knows this has to happen for there to be a movie like this, so it’s happening, deal with it.”

Why it rocks:
The little kid who plays Robbie is the scariest thing in the movie. More than any of the cheap tricks the movie tries to scare you with, this weird little kid with his socks and sandals and dead inside eyes will fuck you up. He is amazing. Actually, all the kids in this film (including the teenagers) are pretty good and being scary or getting scared (as the role demands).  It’s always tricky to have a cast of kids in a legit scary movie and Paranormal Activity 4 actually pulls it off pretty decently. As shitty as the plot is, if you’ve watched all the previous installments and sort of care about the plot advancing, this does do that. Not well (see above) mind you, but it does advance the plot and pave the way for Paranormal Activity 5. Finally, despite being incredibly overdone in the three previous movies and completely predictable with a lot of its “Oh fuck!” scares, the movie does manage to have its own tense moments and even includes a few fake outs that has you expecting a typical Paranormal Activity scare but holds back, which is sometimes creepier than a thing falling off a table.

Does it suck?
Not really. It is also not amazing. If you’re only going to watch one Paranormal Activity movie, watch the first one. If you’ve watched and enjoyed them all, watch this one. Nothing new, but nothing too terrible either. I think it honestly deserves a little better than the 4.5 on 10 it’s currently sporting over at IMDB.