PARANORMAL ACTIVITY–THE GHOST DIMENSION: And… Paramount’s companion languisher to SCOUTS GUIDE has hit On Demand just in time for Christmas. Yes, it hit a few theatres for Halloween, but this actually is a Christmas movie (for no particular reason but to make some Yuletide toys do some creepy things–I’m not sure how a Santa with glowing white eyes was ever considered an appropriate slice of cheer, but you see that even before things start getting wonky). [Read: THE FOREST (2016 Release) : Movie Review ]


Okay–faithful readers may recall that I ‘officially’ gave up on the series after PA4. But the prospect of an in-name-only sequel with all-new characters persuaded me to give the fifth entry (PATMO for short) a chance and I ended up quite liking it (even though the very end of that film only pays off if you HAVE seen at least one of the earlier films). PATMO came out early in 2014, but this latest (and hopefully final) entry (the feature debut of efficient and prolific editor Gregory Plotkin) returns the action to 2013 and plunks us right back in the original location. Yep, we’ve got a new family who just moved in (husband, wife, little girl) and when the husband rifles through the leftover goodies he comes up with a video camera the likes of which he’s never seen before… and a boxload of 20-year-old videocassettes. He and his brother start going through the tapes and playing with the camera, which kicks things off by picking up ominous distortions on the happy home Christmas footage. The tapes provide yet more backstory regarding just who was recruiting the sisters in PA3 (which was a prequel and thus the ‘first’ in the saga), and the little girl starts acting weird and talking to an ‘imaginary’ friend named Toby. And so they set video cameras up everywhere to catch everything that happens when they aren’t looking.

Do I even need to go on? If PATMO was a breath of fresh air, this one is just a tired re-stomping of an exhausted graveyard. Yeah, there are some subtle bits that might have worked a long time ago (characters in the ancient tapes seem to be reacting directly to the contemporary viewers), but after not one but two SINISTER films, even that material is completely played out. And even the MOVIE knows it’s played out, so it tries to rekindle your interest by finally SHOWING you everything that was left to your imagination previously AND by showing it in 3-D (no, I didn’t see the 3-D version with my own eyes, but the intended effects couldn’t be more obvious). Yes, NOW you get inky clouds hovering over and snatching at the characters. Yes, NOW people spew bile directly into the camera lens. Yes, NOW claws burst through character’s chests and reach out at YOU. Never mind that we’re supposed to be watching TV screens and camera monitors and we’re not really SUPPOSED to be seeing this ‘found footage’ in 3-D, for Pete’s sake. But we KNOW you’re not going to settle for the same old thing yet again, so let’s go for the gusto, huh? [Read: THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015) : Movie Review ]

It’s not impossible to bring something fresh and frightening into a franchise even older than this. I’ve seen it happen. But it doesn’t even come close to happening here. This final pathetic PARANORMAL has absolutely nothing to offer and deserves to be ignored for the rest of time.