Part of the lead-up to any “Paranormal Activity” movie is never really knowing what to expect as you head into the theater. Over the course of three films, the found-footage series has established a running mythology that has strung together the otherwise story-light films.
“Paranormal Activity 3″ expanded the backstory, and for the first time in the series, gave us a clearer idea of what the hell is going on, and now a new teaser for “Paranormal Activity 4” hints that we haven’t seen the last of the witches’ coven.
In the first “Paranormal Activity,” the story didn’t go much deeper than the attacks by an invisible demon that caused so much trouble for everyone. Though both Katie and Micah experience the activity, it’s Katie that gets the worst of it, getting dragged out of bed and falling into deep trances. Katie tells Micah that the haunting isn’t new and that she thinks it has followed her. This, of course, sets up our eventual trip back in time for “Paranormal Activity 3,” but we have yet to see any evidence that something bigger is at play here. “Paranormal Activity” keeps the world of the film rather small, since plans for a sequel weren’t originally in place. In two alternate endings for the original film, both Katie and Micah died because of the nefarious demon.
With the massive success of the first installment in the rearview mirror, “Paranormal Activity 2″ broadened its scope and the mythology when the focus shifts to Katie’s sister, Kristi, who’s having some troubles of her own. We learn that both of the sisters witnessed the activity when they were younger. While that’s not a major revelation, the seeds of the series’ current line are sown early on, when Kristi’s step-daughter does some research into the occult. Apparently, there’s a coven of witches that takes particular interest in kidnapping young women for their first born sons. Well, wouldn’t you know, Kristi’s son, Hunter, is the first boy in five generations.
“Paranormal Activity 3″ took us back in time to 1988, filling in some of the cracks of the overall backstory and introducing us to the not-so-sweet Grandma Lois and her witchy friends. It turns out they have been the ones responsible for Toby’s interest in the girls, who will eventually be groomed as son-bearers and have their memories wiped.
Now we come to “Paranormal Activity 4,” which brings us back to modern times, fast forwarding the action from “Paranormal Activity 2″ by five years. The main character, Alice, starts to notice strange things happening around her house after the new neighbors — one of whom is a creepy Hunter-aged kid — move in next door.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Paranormal Activity 4.”