VIDEO: Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

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It’s the fourth film about a family with a video camera getting terrorized by an unseen apparition. In this review, Horror Guru convinces Count Jackula that sacrificing the bustacular Queen of Trash and taping the ensuing haunting will make them just as much money as Paranormal Activity 4.

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  • Tedzey71

    I won’t lie… I was looking at corner three after the end credits 😛

    • Josh Langland

      Oh you. 😛

      • Tedzey71

        I can’t help myself, guys! 

        BTW good review though I don’t expect anything less. 🙂 I find I like horror films which mix the paranormal and people’s paranoia (hence my love for the final destination films, which let’s be honest has a formula that can suck if you don’t give a crap like in Final Destination 4). I remember seeing PA 1 in theaters with some friends who wouldn’t shut up about how the movie’s kept them awake. Honestly, it hasn’t left a big enough impact for me to go check out 2,3 and 4; but watching your review makes me give it another shot!

        • Josh Langland

          Rock on!  Here’s hopin’ you dig ’em.  If you don’t, oh well.  At least you gave it a shot. =P

    • Jack Shen

      Yeah it’s the same porno mag I was using in “Stuart Gordin Presents Death Bed” http://blip.tv/countjackula/the-count-jackula-show-stuart-gordin-presents-deathbed-6286563

  • So this is the famous Queen of Trash. Hope to see more of her on the show (if you know what I mean)!
    *slap*
    Okay, I’ll stop now.

    • Josh Langland

      Ohhhh yeaaahhh! 😉

    • Jack Shen

      Well you may get your wish in the near future.

  • AMCR

    If a horror movie needs gimmicks to scare the audience then it can’t be a good film. Cat scares are cheap, they’re just like a haunted house in some fair, or a friend causing a “boo-scare”  when you’re reading a book or something similar. I don’t hate these films, that would be stupid, but I fail to see the relevance or the appeal. I Saw P.A. I and II and the second one already treaded the same ground. I don’t see this as some internet backlash, these films are successful so people want to see them I get that. But for me the novelty wore thin really fast and if we want to be really fair, blair witch already did the found footage bit and did it better. 

    • MichaelANovelli

      I do hate to disagree with you, but I thought Blair Witch sucked.  There’s a difference between slowly building up to something and making the audience scream, “Get on with it!”

      • AMCR

         Blair witch, i guess, succeeds or fails depending on whether or not you dive into the verisimilitude of the setting it presents. It plays with the post-scream – or post-modern – aproach to horror and urban myths. I found the ending to be a good payoff because it was such a primal representation of childhood fears coming true. But this is my experience with the film and I’m well aware it is a divise experience.

        • Josh Langland

          I agree with this, actually.  I’m a pretty big fan of Blair Witch as well.  Though, I would argue, the very same things could be said about the PA franchise. =) 

          • AMCR

              Ah, I see what you did there. Well but it’s the same thing for me
            regarding blair witch, if it had any sequels – and it didn’t!! – they
            would inevitably follow the same formula. I know that it’s cool to
            compare movies, choose the worst and best of a franchise, best deaths
            and so on, but I usually feel that what’s added later on just diminishes
            the shock and awe of the first film. This is obviously not a rule of
            any kind, but just what I think of most horror franchises.

          • Josh Langland

            Fair enough, good sir. =)

    • Jack Shen

      “If a horror movie needs gimmicks to scare the audience then it can’t be a good film.”

      Every horror EVERYTHING has a gimmick. Show me one that doesn’t, and I’ll show you proof you need new glasses. Freddy has dreams and his glove, Jason and Myers have their masks, Frankenstein has the iconic makeup job. It’s what makes them stand out and worth paying attention to in the first place. If a gimmick doesn’t work for you, that’s one thing. But you’re wrong if you say that if a movie relies on gimmicks, it’s automatically bad.

      “Cat scares are cheap, they’re just like a haunted house in some fair”
      Cat scares are cheap IF they aren’t intended to make you laugh at how easily you jump at them, which Paranormal Activity does. As for the haunted house analogy..YES these movies are like haunted houses. We actually made that point in the review. 

      • Tim Terrell

        Shit happens in the Freddy, Jason and Michael movies. That’s the point I wanted to make about Guru’s comparison to James Bond and Friday the 13th being formulaic. Yes, but the “formula” of James Bond opening with impressive actions scenes can be Bond jumping out of a plane and fighting Jaws over a parachute at 20,000 feet or chasing a parkay athlete over rooftops, the slasher formula is Jason knocking a guys block off (literally) or Freddy changing a prissy teen into a roach. PA’s formula for horror is watching someone’s dad sit on a couch for two minutes, then he turns around because he thought he heard something in the kitchen, only to go upstairs to bed. The PA formula seems to be two scares per half hour, and only half of them are genuine “character in danger” scares.

        • Jack Shen

          Ok, I want to take the time to point out that it wasn’t a “prissy teen” that got turned into a roach. It was Debbie, the the body builder chick who was afraid of bugs. 

          • Tim Terrell

            Point taken. But she was freaked out by a little bug. In her bag of potato chips…Okay point taken.

      • AMCR

         Every horror everything has a gimmick? So every horror film is full of jump scares? What about those that rely on atmosphere and a good…what’s it called? Ah yes plot. I don’t need new glasses thank you, but I guess you need to chill a bit, because you just seem to eager to defend this film. To me a gimmick is a trick that tries to hard to be successful in conveying the feelings or reactions of fear or horror; these can be achieved otherwise through good plot, good acting and a good script, without cranking the volume up to eleven and releasing the cat hidding in the pantry.
        But I’m not demanding that every horror film has to deliver a “perfect” gimmick-free experience, because horror is a broad genre that is also about the cheap thrills, the jump scares and the ludicrous amounts of gore. But to me in P.A. case – or in any other cash-in franchise, the novelty usually wears thin after film number two. It’s my opinion and far from me to judge other people’s enjoyement. You just have to accept that and move on.

        • Jack Shen

          It doesn’t sound like I’m the one you’re trying to convince here.

          • AMCR

            So here I am trying to have an honest discussion in a site that encourages it and you just decided to be condescendent. Fair enough, why bother with healthy debate when you can just spew some vague sentences that exude pretentiousness. I wonder what the weather is like up there on your high horse, but in reality I just don’t care. There’s too many interesting things and people on this site, for me to be bothered by someone as shallow and angry like you.

          • Josh Langland

            That was quite harsh, man.  Jack may be an angry man, but I’d hardly call him shallow and I’m not entirely sure how you arrived at that conclusion. My apologies, however, if anything he or I have said has offended you.  We assure you that wasn’t our intent.

            As for the Paranormal Activity films – Look, if these films aren’t for you that’s fine and dandy.  We dig ’em and I feel like we’ve already explained in great detail what their appeal and relevance are in the video above.  If you still feel we haven’t explained it in a way that you can understand or relate to, then I’m not sure what we could say to convince you.  We’ll just have to agree to disagree at that point. =P

            Hope you still enjoy the videos and, once again, I apologize if any offense was made. =)

          • AMCR

             You see, if you read my first reply I was just trying to say that while I only liked the first P.A., I have no qualm with the series. Yes we disagree and that’s fine, I was just showing that it is possible – and quite sane 🙂 – to dislike a horror franchise without bashing it. I was addressing that specific point of the review, while explaining why I don’t think these series are for me.

            I called your colleage shallow because he chose to be condescending in his second reply after his previous angry one. I was just surprised at his “agressiveness”. the agony booth has come to be a pleasent place for movie debates and his reaction – while not insulting – was harsh.

             It rubbed me the wrong way, but I appreciate your peace  offering, your effort to take things down a notch. Thank you for being civil and polite.

            I couldn’t help myself to insulting your colleague and in doing so lost any reason I might have had. I accept your apologies and offer my own in return.

            Good day to you both.

          • Josh Langland

            Rock on, dude. It’s all cool. =) 

  • MichaelANovelli

    The audience I saw this movie with absolutely hated it!  I remember thinking, “You guys suck SO hard!”  Still, I think of this movie as a combination between the panache of the third one with the restraint of the first one!  🙂

    • Josh Langland

      Oh man, hated it?  Well I’m glad I haven’t experienced that in any of my screenings. They’ve all been unanimously positive experiences. XD

  • Alexa

    Yeah this series never really intrigued me. I am just sick of found footage moives, sure I remember being creeped the fuck out when I saw Blair Witch Project when I was 12, and there is a kind of appeal and edge to the concept since it gives a feeling of creepy reality to the proceedings, but its just been done so many times nowadays that I can’t stand it. I can’t personally critique the franchise since I have not seen any of the movies, but I will say that the whole conceit just feels boring. And its not the formula that bothers me, its just the gimmick itself. Plus its just one of those instances that I have heard so much about it that I am sick of it. I love you guys, and you make great points, and while I could be scared while watching any of these movies,  I still will dislike it just for the gimmick that it supports. But that’s just me personally. 

    • Jack Shen

      Hey hope we still managed to entertain yah! 

  • Tim Terrell

    Katie Featherston is a scream queen? Wow, the standards have truly dropped. We went from Janet Leigh, Linnea Quigley, Kelli Maroney and Jamie Lee Curtis to someone with the onscreen personality of cardboard and a face like a mule. But at least Paranormal Activity taught us one thing: compelling situations and stories, camera placement, pacing and craftmanship can be lazily replaced just by setting a video camera on a bed for a 2 minute static shot and having a CGI shadow run across the screen about a minute and 50 seconds in.

    • Jack Shen

      Well I stand by my declaration of Scream Queendom. I also disagree that we’ve sacrificed good cinematography in the same year that The Woman and The Woman in Black are made. 

      Yeah there are some movies hopping on the found footage bandwagon…but for the most part the bad ones haven’t exactly been successful financially.

      • Sofie Liv

         And well, don’t forget to mention, most movie that hops on the “Found footage bandwagon.” at this point is doing so because it’s a low budget movie, and found footage is a tool allowing you to cheat and do “supernatural stuff.” that other-wise would cost a fortune meaning no-one would ever be able to make it on amatour budget, and by shaking the camera up the audience wont notice that the puppet was hand-made with big orange stitches or some-thing like that.

        When trying to make a film.. you use the tools you have to try and make it look as legit as possible, and a tool handed to amatour film-makers every-where, is the found footage approach, simple as that.

        • Tim Terrell

          This is a five million dollar movie, released by a major studio. They don’t need to cheat. Besides shaky camera doesn’t fool the audience, it annoys them. It also becomes an accepted practice that gives directors of big budget action films an excuse to “shake up the camera” so the actors don’t have to learn fight choreography or the director doesn’t have to explain how the main character specifically escaped a precarious situation. But that’s okay, because this will separate the great directors from the hacks. Hacks like the two people it took to direct the home video called Paranormal Activity 4.

  • Sofie Liv

    Well… have not seen as much as one single paranomarl activity movie. Afraid I am not really a fan of the modern horror genre, I am to big a fan of “story telling.” to truly enjoy these kinds of movies, so well erh..

    But good sketch! and that was a really good twist, really first as I clicked on the video my thought. “Oh dear, here we go, another paranomarmal parody, it’s been done dudes.. I like ya, but it’s been done.” and then you bring in an entirely new twist I have not seen any-where else before, and it was hillarious! Jack makes for the best sacrifical hobo ever! … careful, a flie might fly into that mouth mate.. 

    • Josh Langland

      Yay! Glad you dug it! =) 

      • Sofie Liv

        Well, glad you didn’t try to convince me to watch the movie.

        I sincerely doubt I would manage to see any of it… or maybe you can answer that?

        I got a minor form of epilipsy you see, I don’t get seizures, not at all.. but when there are to many noises or sudden things happening, I simply zone out and go to black, so I just sit there having gone to black without seeing or registre a thing while my brain kick-starts itself and I get back to the real world.. only again, to many noises -zone to black-

        This is the kind of movie where I would just sit and starre out into nothingness for the entire thing isn’t it?

        • Josh Langland

          That depends, what films in the past have caused this kind of reaction?

          • Sofie Liv

             probably should surprise no one I barely managed to see cloverfield because of this problem.. seriously, had no idea what had happened in that movie as I walked out doing the credits.

            Oh and the baby being born scene in twilight.. even though I sat watching it on a small screen in my own appartment, I had to rewind it like three times because I kept missing the actual birth.

          • Josh Langland

            I think for the first film you’d probably be fine for the most part, but the sequels are a lot more chaotic and will probably be harder to watch in that case.  But that’s just my guess.

  • Misinformed

    I enjoyed this review, like I’ve enjoyed your other ones (which I only recently discovered).  The theme music has a real ’80s horror synth score feel and you guys are funny in a unique way.  As for the Paranormal Activity part of the review, I thought you made a mistake Horror Guru in trying to mind-read people who don’t like these movies and then getting angry at people for thinking these hypothetical negative thoughts you ascribed to them.  For instance, I also hate all of the sequel series you named as getting away with repetition in contrast to Paranormal Activity, and I stopped watching all of those series years ago.  (Am only finally going to watch my first Daniel Craig bond film soon because I heard Eva Green was in one and she turns me on.)  As for Paranormal Activity, I saw the first movie and didn’t like it.  Granted, part of that was probably due to watching it at home alone and not in the theater with the people making with the “oh shit’ reactions.  For me the first one just didn’t have much of interest going on.  In horror movies I like films which explore the dark side of human psychology (such as “Peeping Tom” or “Psycho”), have a really bold visual asthetic (such as “Suspiria”), or make social commentary on interpersonal alienation (“Dawn of the Dead,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “The Thing”).  The first “Paranormal Activity” film did not provide visual beauty (understandable somewhat on the budget), did not provide any stimulating exploration of interpersonal conflict (the characters are not memorable and the person who goes evil is not provided with any compelling psychological development to reach that state), the dialogue was shallow, and the storytelling was lacking (there were stretches of boredom).  To me it seems like a movie can be frightening and tell more of a moving story than that movie did.  That’s why I didn’t bother to see any of the sequels. 

    Anyhow, still enjoy your series and look forward to more.  The Queen of Trash seems like a neat person too.

    • Josh Langland

      Fair enough good sir, but I wasn’t trying to mind-read people.  I was arguing against the same tired points I have heard repeated over and over again. If you look below, for example, someone does defend the Friday and Nightmare sequels as being somehow better. =P 

  • HELLO!!!!

    • Josh Langland

      HI!!!!

      • Um… I was talking to the boobs.

        • Jack Shen

          As were we all my friend…as were we all. 

        • Josh Langland

          🙁

        •  Umm…do you mean boobs as in idiots..or like the things that live on my chest?

          •  Well that depends on what exactly lives on your chest. I know I’d quite like to.

  • Never really got into this series as much as others.  Don’t love, don’t hate it.  I might see it when it comes out in redbox for a $1.20, but I definitely won’t be seeing it in the theater.   Still, interesting to hear the view point of people who liked it.  I watched Spoony’s rant on it before this and….yeah…I’ve concluded that I just need to watch it and form my own opinion. 

    • Josh Langland

      Probably the best course of action, really. =) 

    • Jack Shen

      Yeah, I recommend doing that! As I said in the review, I watched the first three on DVD and it got me interested in seeing the 4th one in the theater at a midnight screening.