Increasingly normal Paranormal Activity
John, I'm also a big fan of the Paranormal Activity series, but I thought the latest installment somewhat lacking. It seemed like it was struggling to find new ways to use its creepy premise - after the sheer brilliance of the oscillating fan camera from the PA3 prequel, the Xbox Kinect gag was rather disappointing. It's a testament to the strengths of the concept - the slow build of tension, the you-are-there authenticity of the found footage, the chilling surprise of discovering that our protagonists are haunted by something far worse than a ghost, and the surprisingly intricate plotting between the first few films - that it could produce three good movies, but I'm sad to say that I thought it was running on fumes by the end of part 4.
Having said that, it's clear that PA4 has two big things going for it: the most appealing protagonists of any recent horror film, and Katie Featherstone as the most offbeat movie monster of the modern era. It just plain hurt to watch bad things happen to those kids, and Katie dished out an incredibly high creep factor every time she popped up. She's scarier standing still than most of Hollywood's other monsters can be when they leap off the screen in IMAX 3-D.