The ‘Activity’ needs to stop

Joe Matthews takes on the newest "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" movie

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Illustration by Rebecca Savinski

By Joe Matthews, Staff Writer

It is that time of year again: Halloween season. Being Halloween, it only makes sense that a new “Paranormal Activity” would come to theaters. “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” is the latest chapter in the series that has seemed to enrapture audiences across the nation since 2007, when the original film was released. Unfortunately, what once had audiences screaming in the theaters now has them laughing at the stupidity of it all.

Starting where the fifth movie ended, we learn the two little girls from the previous movies, Katie and Kristi, were part of a demonic cult their grandmother introduced them to. Through teachings from a priest, the girls became avid followers and did whatever was asked of them.

Jumping several years into the future we were introduced to .the next set of unsuspecting victims. While putting up Christmas decorations, Ryan – the father – found an old box of tapes and a video camera. Like most would, he succumbed to curiosity and watched the tapes. He saw people he didn’t know – Katie and Kristi – being taught how to talk to a demon by a priest.  Soon after this, the paranormal activity began.

Having not had enough from just the tapes, Ryan decided to try using the old video camera. Upon doing this, he discovered he could see apparitions around his house. But it was not the kind of apparition one would assume to be present; it wasn’t some frightening ghost or monster. Instead, it was introduced as what looked like bark chips swirling around in some whitish nebula. Realizing he could only see this apparition with the old camera, Ryan depended solely on it for most of the film.

Always recording, Ryan picked up the transformation of the apparition into a dark tree-like figure who began to terrorize his family and – as usual – the child was at the center of it all. Just like the past “Paranormal” movies, the creepy kid factor was heavily relied upon. The daughter – Leila – seemingly became possessed and was filmed writing demonic messages on her bedroom wall. Through this the audience learned that all the ghost wanted was to become human and he needed Leila’s blood to do so.

The conclusion of the movie was extremely unsatisfying and not the least bit scary. But that is only a reflection of how the last few movies have been anyway. With the whole “found footage” fad getting worse and worse, it wasn’t really a disappointment to see this movie turn out so poorly.

The portrayal of the ghost was lame and a far cry from terrifying — a floating cloud of bark chips isn’t going to scare anyone, neither is a tree man who can knock stuff off walls.

With the first “Paranormal Activity” making us believe it could happen to us, one would hope this theme would have continued throughout the series. Unfortunately this was a major downfall in the movie. With it being so unbelievable it was hard to get scared. From a father passively watching his daughter walk through a portal in her wall to a ghost’s hand literally ripping someone’s heart out, the series has lost all its believability.

Seeing how the first movie had a budget of just $12,000, it would make sense that the acting was subpar. But after five multi-million dollar grossing movies one would hope the acting would improve — especially since so many new characters are introduced each film. But, no, the acting hasn’t gotten any better. This, too, probably led to the movie not being as convincing as it could have been. Not seeming genuine, or even scared, the actors really didn’t help the movie. Little Leila probably had the best role even though her character had very few lines.

With this supposedly being the last film in the series it has become evident that the real victims weren’t the tortured families in the movies, but the loyal paying audience.