This past weekend, a bunch of people went to go see the new “Paranormal Activity” movie and for good reason. The series has delivered low-budget scares like clockwork for the past four years, and with the “Paranormal 3” directors back on board, the fourth entry had great potential built right into it from the word “go.”
Now you might disagree with us, but we imagined “Paranormal Activity 4” going in a slightly different direction. While we’re definitely not giving up on the series, there are three things that we’re hoping to see when Toby comes back in “Paranormal Activity 5.”
Read on after the jump!
Bring Back the Fan Cam
We’re not talking about literally bringing back the wonderfully gimmicky trick from “Paranormal Activity 3” that left us anxiously waiting to see what might appear when the camera turned back to the kitchen. (For the record, we wouldn’t say “no” to that.) What we want is the principle that drove us to the fan cam. When the formula for a popular series of film is as specific as it is for “Paranormal Activity,” tweaking those elements and expanding upon them from entry to entry becomes the only means of innovation. After two movies, we need a mechanism that would get that camera moving and create empty space for a ghoul to fill when we weren’t looking. It was smart and fun and directly addressed a limitation of the format and used that it create something new. Let’s get something like that again.
Go Bigger, Not Smaller
When we spoke with director’s Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, they admitted that “Paranormal 4” was a deliberate step down in scale from the third. “I think you have to restrain yourself too. Most franchises get more and more ridiculous,” Schulman said. “This one’s kind of more held back than ’Paranormal 3.’ ” While there’s something to be said for reassessing scale when a franchise gets too narratively bloated or CGI-saturated, that’ s not where “Paranormal” was after three movies. “Paranormal 3” opened our eyes to bigger possibilities. It didn’t make us long for “Paranormal 2” or the original. Choosing to step back when they did made the shift feel more like a downgrade than a return to the basics.
One big step toward extending the life of the series was the introduction of the larger mythos at play behind what seemed to be at first a random haunting. We gradually found out that this wasn’t just a demon set on bugging the crap out of Katie and Kristi. He had a purposeand a name. As Toby developed, the scope of the story grew with him. Each installment became about more than a series of scares; every movie drops hints of the real story and built a world around all of the activity. “Paranormal Activity 4” not only gave us no new information, but it essentially ended in the same spot as “Paranormal 2,” a movie from 2010.
What do you want to see in “Paranormal Activity 5”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!