Underwhelming third sequel is the least violent, least scary, least good
Of all the Paranormal Activity films, this one is my least favorite. And that's such a shame, because after the freakishly weird twist ending of PA3, I thought this one was going to give at least some sort of hint as to what it meant. But it doesn't. It answers nothing at all. For all it cares, the third film doesn't even exist. You could literally just jump from PA2 to this, and the viewing experience would be no different. All it does is bring up more and more and more questions that are just annoying this time around. I guess I can kind of understand the trick behind this, because now that we have two movies with unanswered questions, there will have to be at least two or so other movies to answer everything, and then they can bring up questions until we end up with ten or fifteen movies. That's a creative way to make a franchise longer, and I'll be interested in seeing what the other films have to offer. But even though I respect its intentions, it still leaves me with a bland and tired film that tries to hard to make you ask questions. But as if that weren't bad enough, the film is astonishingly short on scares; the silent chills of the nighttime sequences seen in the previous three films are now gone, instead replaced with, well, pretty much nothing. And when there are nighttime scares, they're brief and disappointing. Plus, this film has way too many fake jump scares (such as a cat jumping in front of the camera by surprise or something like that); I mean, I think fake jump scares can be pretty fun if done a few times or so, but this pushed the boundaries until I just started groaning. Plus, it can't seem to find much of an excuse for filming everything, especially since in this movie, the main character uses a laptop as a camera; I mean, I have a feeling that it would get kind of exhausting to carry an entire laptop around with you while you're being chased around the house by a demon (Oops! Spoilers!). On the positive note, it does have some decent performances (although I have NO IDEA why they would cast Matt Shively, that awkward kid from True Jackson VP, as the boyfriend), and the script is at least mildly realistic. Alex is a pretty likeable heroin, and the two male child actors are really good, especially the one playing Robbie, who gives a rock-solid performance as a dark and mysterious kid without going too over-the-top. And I guess there are a few mildly scary moments here and there. But these few good traits aren't enough to recommend this tepid, lazy, contrived, unexplained, and arguably meaningless addition to a really good franchise.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism