Published on November 4th, 2015 | by Brando Quiring0
Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension
The Paranormal Activity horror film franchise is getting near series like Saw or Friday the 13th territory, going out with an astoundingly shark jumping film.
I never watched Happy Days, but I know the expression ‘jump the shark.’ And Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension jumps the shark.
With many franchises we see quality or creativity sag as time goes on and eventually the movies become formulaic and predictable in the worst way. Ghost Dimension is an example of this that is so drastic it is insulting to watch. Paranormal Activity went from an independent film that garnered acclaim (and dollars) for it’s great concept and atmosphere to a recycled feeling failure of a horror film that doesn’t deliver even in the way the most standard ghost flicks do.
Ignoring the mess that was The Marked Ones (one of the few things the film gets right), the story picks up the same way the other sequels did: a hapless person finds a box of tapes in the garage. The twist this time is that along with the mysterious tapes they also find a special video camera that is capable of seeing things that exist in another dimension. It also functions as the vehicle for the obligatory 3D elements in the film, rather than just making a movie that is all 3D they decided to only make things viewed through the Ghost-cam 3D, which forces your eyes to refocus every few minutes and ensures a headache.
After the tapes are found, we have all the typical Paranormal Activity activities: one person films the house, the demon does something, the people watch the footage and are confused by what they are seeing, so they decide to investigate further until the climax where the haunting becomes all too evident, and of course, by then it is too late.
The difference here is that the demon is clearly visible from the second night. The family has six hours of a demon that looks like Venom from Spider-Man after he just got hit by a church bell watching their daughter while she sleeps. Couple that with the fact that the little girl is acting strangely and talking to an invisible presence who is clearly exerting undue influence over her. What does the family do with this mountain of evidence? Nothing. Not a thing. The wife doesn’t even believe her husband when he says something is wrong. They have demons on tape, they have little girls predicting the future on video tape and they decide to just stay in the house and pretend like nothing is wrong. Because the script said so.
The characters, such as they are, aren’t used to great effect either. We have the curious father, who we follow for a great deal of the runtime. Also, his wipeout dipstick of a brother who is mostly just there to hold the camera sometimes and be another character who sees the demon and reacts to it. We have the wife who is scared of what is going on but doesn’t seem to want to admit that there is an actual demon standing next to her until the final act, when it vomits acid into her brother-in-law’s face. There is also a throwaway character who is the blonde girl with the rocking bod who is there to look pretty and die first, which she does, eighty minutes into the movie.
Before the final act where they make an effort to kill the demon the movie is a by the numbers ghost flick. Bumps in the night, moving objects, mysterious chills and weird, moving shadows. But they blow it all away by letting you see the demon. They look directly at the spirit that is haunting them and act like they can’t see it, even though we know that they can. Several times there is irrefutable evidence that their little girl is being haunted and they do nothing. The effect of a demon moving a door is ruined when you can see it doing it. Other evidence of the characters acting like morons because the script told them to shows it self when the little girl starts drawing satanic symbols on her walls above her bed, the dad and his brother confirm the nature of the symbols and they just leave them on the wall so that they can be used as a vehicle to introduce a concept that never belongs in a horror movie franchise unless everyone involved has just given up: time travel.
The mystery that the other films were teasing for all these years was time travel.
It is a rare thing in movies, but once I realized what was going on, I felt like I could actually see the producers and writers giving me the finger while counting my money off camera. I was offended personally that a film series that I liked so much turned into a ridiculous, time travelling mess that not only jumps the shark but also creates an unforgivable, mythos eradicating time paradox that will leave you angry and just waiting for the credits to roll so you can leave and tell your friends that you should have listened to this review so that you would not have wasted your time on such a crappy movie.
Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension was a sequel that promised to answer all the questions, and it did. The problem is that the people involved with the story didn’t know the answer to anything and they just went with the easiest answer, knowing that there weren’t going to be more entries so this one didn’t need to do well, it just had to exist.
I wish I could use the power of the devil to go back and stop myself from wasting my time, but I will settle for stopping you from wasting yours.