Paranormal Activity 4 REVIEW

Paranormal Activity 4 DVD review.

Release Date: 25 February 2013
2012 | 15 | 84 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£26.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Cast: Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Aiden Lovekamp, Brady Allen, Stephen Dunham

Have Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman forgotten what the Paranormal Activity brand is all about? At times, during this disappointing effort, it seems like it.

Boiled down to its essentials, this franchise is about making you stare at a doorway for a frustratingly long time. PA4 is having none of that, and resorts to a bewildering number of jumpcuts, seemingly fearful that viewers won’t have the patience to wait for a character to walk across a room.

Maybe this concern about attention span is related to the film’s teen focus. Young Alex (Kathryn Newton) is the focus, experiencing strange goings on after her family takes in a peculiar little boy neighbour whose mother’s been hospitalised. This means numerous tedious Skype conversations, and requires that the film’s grown-ups must be morons – Alex’s parents steadfastly refuse to listen to their daughter’s concerns. The found-footage conceit is also stretched to breaking point, as Alex sets laptops recording 24/7 throughout the house (hilariously, there’s even one in the kitchen, “for mum’s recipes”).

There’s no tension, not a single bone-chilling moment, and a key revelation about one character’s true identity makes zero sense – at least, not in the context of this movie. Perhaps all will be explained in PA5… but after watching this, you might feel inclined to give that a swerve.


Both formats offer an extended edit (nine minutes longer) as well as the theatrical cut, but there are no extra scares – a good three minutes’ worth is footage of Alex taking her brother trick or treating. Twenty-eight minutes of “Recovered Files” – deleted scenes, basically (the fact that the film was improvised from a basic outline explains why there are so many) – prove equally pointless.

Ian Berriman

For an alternate perspective, read our Paranormal Activity 4 review from the theatrical release.
Watch a Paranormal Activity recap video.