'Paranormal Activity 4': The Reviews Are In!

Critics aren't afraid to heap bad reviews onto the horror franchise.

Do you like scary movies? How about found-footage movies? Then you're likely amped up to see "Paranormal Activity 4" this weekend, the latest addition to the box office busting, are-you-scared-of-things-that-go-bump-in-the-night "PA" canon.

Thus far, the critical masses aren't too scared or impressed by this new installment, as it's sitting with a "Rotten" rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. But let's see for ourselves what all the fuss is about as we get ready to cover our eyes and peek through our hands at the scary truth in the "Paranormal Activity 4" reviews!

The Story

"In the three previous movies, set in California, we met the troubled and troublesome Katie (Katie Featherston). As a child, Katie and her sister Kristi fell under the malign spell of their grandmother, secretly the leader of a coven of witches. Later, taken over by a demon called 'Toby,' Katie killed Kristi and disappeared with her infant son, Hunter. Now, six years later, we find ourselves in Nevada, getting to know a new family: a mom and dad (Alexondra Lee and Stephen Dunham) who aren't getting along too well; their teenage daughter, Alex (Kathryn Newton); and a six-year-old son called Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp). One day another six-year-old, a very strange lad called Robbie (Brady Allen), comes calling. Robbie lives across the street from this family, and his mother has suddenly been taken to the hospital. He has nowhere to go. The family takes him in. A big mistake, naturally, as we soon see: Alex's boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) has her set up laptops and other surveillance equipment around her house to document the strange stuff that begins happening (and of course the tension-pumping non-activity in the various late-night rooms)." — Kurt Loder, Reason.com

The Scares

"While it sounds complex and interesting, I assure you that it's not. 'Paranormal Activity 4' is a bloated mess of contrived scares, heavy exposition (that literally reveals NOTHING) and scares that are less shocking than in any of its predecessors. This is a sequel, kids, a third for that matter, sh-- should be hitting the fan Poltergeist style! Unfortunately, the audience is forced into watching boring scenes of a young girl yapping with her boyfriend and little kids being mostly quiet (only speaking to say weird things). Worst of all, the audience is essentially made to suffer through 90 minutes worth of shots of empty rooms." — Brad Miska, Bloody-Disgusting.com

How It Fits Into Franchise

"Oren Peli's original movie and both sequels offered surprising things that left you wondering how they did it, while this one offers nothing quite as spectacular. There just isn't anything nearly as impressive or inventive as the video camera mounted on a rotating fan from the third movie and the movie proves there's only so much that can be done when you don't have any new ideas. Just moving a chair a couple feet, clearly using a thin wire, just doesn't do it and that's after having Alex's younger brother riding around the house on a Big Wheel is such an obvious nod, rip-off, homage, whatever you want to call it, to 'The Omen.' " — Edward Douglas, ShockTillYouDrop.com

The Final Thrill

"I'll always take a horror film franchise motivated by imagination and trepidation over one washed lazily downstream by a torrent of fake blood, and while Alex and her family are set up like lambs for the slaughter, that still doesn't mean we don't gulp when the time comes for the finale. The cast is excellent, again with the caveat that they're working within the constraints of both a franchise film and a film with a predetermined shooting style, and while Newton and Shively are an appealing lead couple, Allen and Lovekamp are also strong as kids in touch with — and in thrall to — something strange and unknowable. 'Paranormal Activity' should be the last in its brand. But if we have to endure 'Paranormal Acti5ity,' which according to the teaser footage at the end we do, let's hope the film makers find some new form to play with beyond found footage, and definitely some scare-making tricks beyond Wes Craven-style dark shapes moving in the background." — James Rocchi, BoxOffice.com

Check out everything we've got on "Paranormal Activity 4."

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