A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is the sixth (and final?) movie in the found-footage horror series that started strong but went downhill two movies ago. It has about the same levels of iffy content as the previous films: There are plenty of jump-scares, ghost attacks, and character deaths, as well as a young girl in peril. A woman is ogled and treated as a sexual object; there's also sex talk and sexual banter, as well as sex-related jokes and references to "porno tapes." Language includes fairly frequent uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "bitch" and "hell." Characters get high in one scene from eating some kind of drug-laced chocolate. Background drinking is also shown. It's not a good movie, but the franchise name alone will be enough to appeal to teen horror fans.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Coming soon "Paranormal Activity 46: 98 minutes of us waving a sheet in front of a camera with a young girl screaming in the background!"
What's the story?
A loving family -- dad Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mom Emily (Brit Shaw), and young daughter Leila (Ivy George) -- is about to celebrate Christmas in their new house. Uncle Mike (Dan Gill) has come to visit, and Skyler (Olivia Taylor Dudley), who's a kind of healer, lives with them. Then Ryan finds a box with a strange camera and old VHS video tapes. The camera appears to pick up weird, ghostly frequencies, and the tapes reveal two young girls, Katie and Kristi, performing strange rituals. Soon Leila starts acting oddly, speaking to an invisible friend, "Toby," and the camera picks up a mass of inky tendrils moving about the house. The desperate family must try to figure out what the demon wants and stop it before it takes their daughter away.
Is it any good?
Very tenuously connected to the rest of the Paranormal Activity films, this sixth entry follows the familiar routine, with the same old scares and no fresh ideas. It struggles simply to make sense. The ghost camera is perhaps the only new wrinkle (viewers finally see "Toby" for the first time), but nothing terribly unique is done with it, aside from showing off some tired 3D effects. Also, characters are simply dropped as scary stuff starts happening; we cease to care.
Director Gregory Plotkin was an editor on the last four entries, including the very good parts 2 and 3, and yet his knowledge of the found-footage idea doesn't seem to have taken hold. The logic behind his choices of shots isn't always clear and is often uninspired. Even the lazy title makes no sense. There's no "ghost," and there's no "dimension." The producers have promised that this is the final Paranormal Activity movie, and just in time: This series has clearly sputtered out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how scary the Paranormal Activity series is. Is this installment any more or less scary than its predecessors? What'/violence-in-the-media/whats-the-impact-of-media-violence-on-kidss scariest about it?
How did you feel about seeing such a young girl in peril? Does it make the movie scarier? More dramatic? Less enjoyable?
Are the movie's sex talk/references gratuitous or necessary to the story?
- In theaters: October 23, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: January 12, 2016
- Cast: Katie Featherston, Chris J. Murray, Ivy George
- Director: Gregory Plotkin
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and some horror violence
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