Last night I went to the cinema to watch the latest Paranormal Activity film, The Ghost Dimension. And well it was just….okay. I wasn’t expecting much but it could have been so much better. I like the franchise, but it was really clutching at straws after Paranormal Activity 3. Even after watching all of them it is still quite hard to fully understand what is going on. I’m not even going to attempt at explaining it, because even I’m still like huh? The first 3 films in the franchise are good solid films. Plenty of scares but also a very interesting story which deepens throughout. The fourth film I don’t remember at all, and the ‘spin off’ film The Marked Ones (Basically Paranormal Activity 4.5) wasn’t the best, but added an extremely clever twist to the franchise, taking us all the way back to events of the first film. Right, still with me? Good. Now this twist, or as I like to call it the ‘we need something fresh to make this franchise relevant again’ moment, adds a lot more questions, which sadly don’t really get answered.
As you can tell by the film’s title, the word Dimension is key to this film. This is what happened at the end of The Marked Ones. A sort of Portal was opened up, which transported the main character in to Katie’s house from Paranormal Activity 1. There were a multiple of different endings but I believe main one was her waking up in the middle of the night. She goes downstairs and then lets out a very loud scream. This wakes her boyfriend up and he runs down to see what is going on. Doesn’t end to well for him sadly, as soon after we see his body hurled at the camera, with a bloody Katie in the doorway staring daggers at the audience. So basically one character, pretty much teleported from his house to Katie’s, using this ghost door. At the time I thought it was pretty awesome, but it was too little too late for the franchise. The problem, as with a lot of franchises, is that they want to keep the audience entertained, but still focus on what the made it so successful. Paranormal Activity should have been a one off. The director used his own house and friends to act in it for him. I think the entire films budget was under £10,000. It made an absolute killing at the box office. It was no surprise that movie companies wanted a piece of the action, hence spawning the unnecessary, but fun sequels.
I know I have written about franchises before so I won’t bore you again with my thoughts on them, but ultimately it’s what lets The Ghost Dimension down. The films theme, and the new dimension twist, only loosely tie in with the previous films. Which is a shame but for me was expected. If you’re going to the change rules, or add something drastic to a film series, you have to plant seeds early on. It has to be consistent, otherwise it just feels like a last minute idea shoved in. The simple pleasures when watching a film, or TV series, is consistency. It needs to flow. If you keep adding ideas and messing with the plot then it just becomes messy, and could potentially ruin the payoff. However the plot isn’t entirely to blame for The Ghost Dimension failing. The biggest, and most sinful is quite simply the lack of scares. I know. I was disappointed as much as you are now. The reason why this series became so popular was for the scares. They were sudden, you couldn’t see them coming and they were clever. Remember the kitchen one, when all the cupboards and doors open at the same time? I have never jumped so much in my life! And they don’t leave the house after this? Idiots.
Simply put this film is the least scary out of the entire franchise. And it doesn’t help that we’ve been here before, 5 times before to be exact. The night camera set up is boring now, and you see WAY too much of the ghost, demon or whatever it is. Quite possibly the worse thing they could have done. Throughout the franchise you never see the demon, and that was the best thing about. Not seeing something is far scarier. You paint the picture in your head of what it looks like. And no way did I imagine it looking like Dementor from Harry Potter. Seriously. All this time and that’s what they come up with. It’s also where most of the films budget went, creating this demon. Decent special effects but not scary. You know I’ve not even mentioned the 3D! Pains me to say it but the 3D was actually quite clever. I’m not the biggest fan of it but the way it was used was awesome. Whenever they use the ‘spirit camera’ (don’t get me started) that’s when we see the 3D-ness. But ultimately it just goes down as another gimmick. The film wouldn’t need it if the plot wasn’t all over the place and it actually scared you. Writers and directors need to start realising that you don’t need gimmicks to make something scary, but they’ll never learn. There will more than likely be another paranormal activity, and I’ll probably end up watching it, because I never learn either.
Catch you guys next week!