“The final chapter in the scariest found footage franchise…” “Every secret will be revealed…” “We saved the most frightening film for last…” All of these silly headlines have me saying, “oh,” without emotion because after watching Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, I was left as if I had stepped into another dimension where people found this movie scary and, ya know, actually considered it a concluding chapter. This gives you a feel for what my review is going to be like, so read on at your own risk.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is written by Andrew Deutschman, Gavin Heffernan, Jason Pagan and Adam Robitel. Really, I mean, really? It took four people to write this? The film is directed by Gregory Plotkin and stars Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, Dan Gill, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Don McManus and Michael Krawic.
“The Ghost Dimension, follows a new family, The Fleeges – father Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mother Emily (Brit Shaw) and their young daughter Leila (Ivy George) – who move into a house and discover a video camera and a box of tapes in the garage. When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them – including the re-emergence of young Kristi and Katie.”
I will admit, I tapped out of this franchise after my viewing of Paranormal Activity 3: Kids in Crisis… Again. Oh, that’s not the title? That means I missed out on any tidbits of information and strategically placed, repeated jump scares in Paranormal Activity 4 and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. With that said, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything when it came to advancing the plot and the backstory of this series. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Paranormal Activity is one of those series where the company backing it – Blumhouse – has beaten a dead horse with a stick because it knows the audience will show up for virtually the same movie over and over again. Do you really need to see Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension to know what actually happens during the movie? No. If you’ve seen two of the previous installments in the franchise, then that’s more than enough to educate you on how these movies work. I’m happy that someone made the right decision in ending the series, finally, but this has no sort of conclusion or “end” feeling to it. Not in the slightest. I can still think of at least five more questions as to just what the fuck is going on.
I will give the writers credit for introducing the camera that can record apparitions that aren’t exposing themselves to the human eye. It was a tiny flicker of originality in a franchise that thrives on repetition in terms of formula and reveal. Although, I think the camera should have been introduced much earlier in the series. I think introducing the device in #4 would have been a great way to end Paranormal Activity on a high note instead of dragging it out another two films. The addition of the camera and seeing how the ghosts work, what they look like, and how far their capabilities can go was a welcomed advancement in plot, but one that came too late. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension also takes a turn towards something very Halloween 6-y and then falls into the biggest pitfall of its category. I think making the cult of The Midwives such a driving force behind the deaths by ghostly hands was a mistake and showing an apparition of Toby was a mistake, too. It’s kind of like the film never learned what its objective was, what its film-making tactic was, what it was able to captivate a generation with. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes it’s scarier to not see what’s trying to kill you. Paranormal Activity perfected this, and then forget about it in the last movie. It’s definitely a double edged sword.
There’s not much for me to say here. Original script, great acting and high quality found footage. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, this does not seem like a conclusion in anyway, so don’t expect to leave the movie feeling like you understand everything. I don’t think you should see this in theaters at all, actually. I think it’s only worth the price of a stream or television rental. Put the extra bucks towards a horror film that’s worthy of your time because real and old-school horror fans will not dig this at all. I didn’t. Even though I clearly have some bias towards this franchise, I can still give credit where credit is due and I firmly believe that my rating is justified. FINAL SCORE: 4 out of 10.