Paranormal Activity - The Ghost Dimension - The Worst One Yet?

Matthew Parkinson | 23 Oct 2015 12:00
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Directed by Gregory Plotkin. Produced by Jason Blum and Oren Peli. Written by Jason Harry Pagan, Andrew Deutschman, Adam Robitel, and Gavin Heffernan. Release date: October 23, 2015.

There's an adage when it comes to horror movies that states that the more you see the monster, the less frightening it becomes. After all, part of the reason that it's scary in the first place is because of the mystery surrounding it. You don't know what it can do, you don't know why it's acting this way, you don't know when or where it could pop up, and so on. Like them or not, the Paranormal Activity movies always have, at the very least, tried to keep their ghosts/demons/whatever at least somewhat under wraps, even despite the ever-expanding and ultimately confusing mythology that the series has, for some reason, decided to try to have.

It might come as a surprise, then, that the newest one, subtitled The Ghost Dimension, exists to show us exactly what's been haunting our various families, tell us precisely why, and remove any and all mystery from the series. The reason, I suppose, is because this is the promised finale to the Paranormal Activity franchise, although that's a hard claim to believe. My point is this, though: by explaining everything and by showing us our demon early and often, it becomes far less scary. And because this is the sixth movie, we've mostly figured it out by now anyway. Franchise fatigue had set in after just a couple of installments; by the sixth entry, what we're watching feels obligatory.

Paranormal Activity - The Ghost Dimension #1

The plot, I'm sure you'll struggle to believe, involves a family who finds themselves haunted by a demon, so they set up cameras around their house to catch its activities, because demons are such drama queens. The hook is that one of the cameras can see the demon, who looks a lot like Voldemort. Its sinister plan involves using the family's resident child, Leila (Ivy George), to somehow create a human body for itself. Don't think too hard about how it all works, as The Ghost Dimension hasn't, either, even though it has four credited screenwriters. What we get to watch is basically every "child talks to evil entity" movie ever, except that it's all done in found-footage format with unknown actors, and it tries to tie up the overly convoluted overarching story of the series, which at this point is so terrible that one has to wonder why anyone thought it was necessary.

What results for the audience are a bunch of jump startles with no buildup, tension, or reason to fear, a generic plot that you won't care about, ridiculously stupid and annoying characters, 3D which means that an already darkly lit film has been made darker, and special effects that would be embarrassing if they were used as a tech demo for a Dreamcast game. The only true positive to be found? There are some laughs, both unintentional and intentional. So, in case you were wondering, the answer to the most important question - "Is it funnier than Paul Blart 2?" - is an emphatic "yes."

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