The sixth and final installment of the Paranormal Activity film series has hit the screens, this time directed by Gregory Plotkin in his first feature length film. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is a kind of continuation from the third film in particular, but with a whole new family – the Fleeges. In 2013, Ryan (Chris J. Murray), and his brother, Mike (Dan Gill), are rummaging through old boxes in Ryan’s garage when they discover an old video camera and some home video tapes. While the camera appears to have the ability to record certain anomalies that other cameras cannot, the video tapes show some strange footage of what looks to Ryan like a “cult” training two young girls – Katie and Kristi (names fans of the series will recognise).
Meanwhile, Ryan’s six-year-old daughter, Leila (Ivy George), begins acting out, talking to an “imaginary friend” and showing up in random places around the house at night. Concerned her behaviour could be more than meets the eye, Ryan and his wife, Emily (Brit Shaw), set up the old video camera in an attempt to catch whatever is causing Leila to act this way. But, like all Paranormal Activity films go, once the cameras switch on, things only go from bad to worse…
While the first Paranormal Activity film was considered rather groundbreaking on the horror scene, six years later the franchise is wearing more than a little thin. What was so great about the first film – the suspense, the dreadful, dragging silence – is completely absent in this film. There’s just no subtlety or care with the way the horror is handled – and by that measure, it’s not even really that scary. There were only one or two good frights out of a possible many, but you already knew they were on their way before they came. There wasn’t that element of surprise, and definitely no originality (how could there be, after six films circulating around the same central story).
When Paranormal Activity was released in 2007, found footage became a rather trendy way to film horror flicks, but since then, it has been absolutely and inarguably done to death. I have said it many times before, and I’ll say it again – I don’t want to see any more found footage horror movies. Unless the creators can come up with a really inventive and fresh reason for their characters to be running around 24/7 with cameras in their hands (see M. Night Shyamalan’s recent film, The Visit), I just don’t see the merit in using found footage. It’s limiting and it rarely makes sense, particularly in the first scenes of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.
Couple this with some B-grade acting, bland characters and loose-ended plot lines and you’ve got the ingredients for a flat-line of a finale. I can only hope now that this series doesn’t pull a ghostly move and rise up from the dead. Time to leave this one in its grave.