Tag Archives: Katie Featherston

Review: Paranormal Activity 4

The sun goes down, everyone goes to bed, that low rumble kicks in and the demon comes out to play. The first “Paranormal Activity” was entirely new territory. In the second, the plot thickened and scares still felt fresh. By the time we hit the third, we were well aware of what was coming, but quality character development kept us firmly invested. While “Paranormal Activity 4” does achieve a degree of success, franchise quality is clearly starting to crack and give way to the gimmick.

New town, new family. In round four, the “Paranormal Activity” franchise ditches California for Nevada and puts the focus on Alex (Kathryn Newton), her parents, little brother Wyatt and boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively). They’re a loving family, living in a beautiful home in a quaint suburban neighborhood – minus the weird little boy that lives across the street, Robbie (Brady Allen). When Robbie’s mother is rushed to the hospital, Alex’s parents are kind enough to take him in for a few nights. Cue the traditional “Paranormal Activity” “Night #” labels.

Initially, the idea of having another “Paranormal Activity” without Katie and Kristi at the core was a little disconcerting, but Alex is sweet, charming and believable enough to win you over in minutes, and the same goes for Ben and her family. After quickly reminding viewers of the horrors of 2006 and that Katie is still at large, the film cuts to Alex’s point of view, offering a look at the new family dynamic. Thanks to a well-established norm, Robbie’s arrival is as jarring for the audience as it is for Alex. The concept of the creepy kid next door letting the demon in is both eerie and, thanks to Ben’s commentary, quite amusing, but it does slowly fizzle out.

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Review: Paranormal Activity 3

With the Saw franchise over and done with, Paranormal Activity finally has the holiday all to itself. If you’re like me, you were rather used to Saw’s Halloween splash, spending the holiday watching helpless victims get ripped limb from limb, blood splattering everywhere and a puppet ride around on a tricycle. No, it wasn’t quality filmmaking, but it was tradition and holiday appropriate. Well, no more settling necessary. The Paranormal Activity franchise has not only continued to deliver quality material, but now, with three films under its belt, shows it has the potential at being a viable and worthy long standing tradition.

Round three picks up just before the events of the first two films, in 2005. Sisters Katie and Kristi (Katie Featherston and Sprague Grayden) are in incoming baby Hunter’s freshly painted room. While there, Katie also takes the opportunity to unload some unwanted keepsakes, an old box of VHS tapes. Next year, Kristi’s house is burglarized and the only item missing is that very box of tapes.

Jump back to 1988. Young Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown) are doing the usual for girls their age – having tea parties, celebrating birthdays and getting dressed up for picture day at school. However, little Kristi also has another hobby, talking to her invisible friend Toby. While her mother, Julie (Lauren Bittner) writes the behavior off as mere child’s play, Julie’s live-in boyfriend, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), becomes obsessed with Toby and the strange and inexplicable bumps in the night. In true Paranormal Activity form, he arms up with video cameras and sets them up around the house, determined to find out what’s going on while they sleep.

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Review: Paranormal Activity 2

Thanks to its unique shooting style and plot, one of last year’s biggest surprise hits, Paranormal Activity, should have been a one-and-done deal. Luckily Paramount decided to give the concept another go-around and found director Tod Williams and writer Michael R. Perry, two guys who really knew not only how to keep the story alive, but expand it in a manner that introduced new elements while keeping the old firmly intact. Think this will be just a studio fast track effort to make bank on a stellar concept? Think again. Not only is Paranormal Activity 2 a well-made sequel, it’s just as good as the first.

Character development is powerful right from the start. After a text disclaimer thanking the family of the deceased and local police department, we meet baby Hunter just as he arrives home from the hospital. Thanks to the father’s multiple marriages, the gang has a unique dynamic. He and Kristy are clearly mom and dad to Hunter, but when it comes to his daughter, he is the primary parental figure, Kristy filling in more as a friend. They’re upbeat, loving and all-around likeable, making the sequence of events to follow even more powerful.

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Review: Paranormal Activity

ParanormalActivityPosterSeeing helpless victims face a brutal serial killer is terrifying, but after watching Paranormal Activity, I’d much rather be hanging out with Jigsaw than the demonic force haunting Micah and Katie. Experiencing this movie with an unruly crowd definitely diminished the horrifying effects, yet I still walked out terribly frightened and dreading turning out the lights and going to bed. The film’s scare factor precedes it but Paranormal Activity isn’t just a cheap thrill, it’s an honorable production that easily trumps other films, even those not of its genre.

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