'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' Review

All right, full disclaimer; I may or may not have been drunk while watching the movie but to my defense - I don't think I would even have remained in the theater for more than 20 minutes if alcohol hadn't been consumed beforehand because this was the biggest pile of shit I have seen this whole year. This review may end up being all over the place as a lot of it really is just one long continuous rant. 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' is possibly the worst movie of the year.

First of all, it sucked. Of course it sucked. Nobody should have doubted that it would suck. 'Paranormal Activity 4' sucked, 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' sucked. Imagining that this film would somehow "redeem" this terrible franchise is just fairytale nonsense. I feel sorry for anyone who went into the theater in the hopes of using it as the "Halloween movie of the year". I would have felt bad for all the people who were in the theater with me, but that would mean that I was the only one rolling around on the floor laughing which was not the case as the movie continued to actively show how it just does not care about the story anymore. You might just have cracked up that I even said "story" in a review about a Paranormal Activity movie but believe it or not, there actually was a linking storyline in these films. One that actually was mildly interesting in the first three films despite the mediocre quality. By this point that story is long dead.

What 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' does is pretend to give some kind of answer to the threads the other films "purposely" left open - while not actually answering any of them and instead open up a whole new dimension of questions (see what I did there?) that I can only expect they will shove into yet another future installment (I want to believe this is indeed the final one... but this is a horror franchise, the supposed final one is never the final one). But to be fair, the questions this movie left in my head are not just from the looming story threads of the series... it bogs right down to the fabric of the movie's existence. This is still supposed to be a "found-footage" movie, but as you clearly see in the trailer they have just thrown that idea out of the window.

This film relies heavily on the events of the third film. So much so that they even show footage from it. They take it to such an extent that they even have the characters here find the recordings and play it several times throughout the film. This made me wonder though, because as far as I remember - 'Paranormal Activity 3' did not tell us where the footage came from. Basically all I can assume is the demon Toby kept it until the new house was built ontop of the one in the third film (that burnt down) so the new family could find it... but that begs the question; seeing as this is found-footage, WHO found the footage? Who found the footage, who edited it, and who released it in theaters in 2011 (the year the third film was released)? Because we are supposed to believe this is somehow REAL footage. In fact the only reason this series works on any level is when you can concievably believe that the footage you are watching could be real (which they really threw out of the window after the third film). This movie takes place in 2013, that is two years after the third film got released... so how did someone find the footage, edit it together and release it in theatres before this new family found the footage and watched it? Really when you get right down to it, this series does not work on the most superficial level. It is a straight up slasher movie with the worst cinematography of all time.

And again, like the previous two films; they have thrown the idea of potential proof of the paranormal out of the window. If this was indeed real footage that had been found, there would be riots on the streets. You see fucking demons IN this movie. You see a fucking cave open up to what I can only assume is "the ghost dimension" in the child's room (it is in the poster of the movie but it is barely used in the film). Throughout the film you see the venom from 'Spider-Man 3' taking the shape of a demon (which can apparently only be seen through an old camera they found) apart from obviously pandering to the 3D (oh yeah, I will get to the 3D later), it really does not do much. It is just a weird visual effect that again, is obvious proof of the paranormal. There was one scene were it was getting closer and closer to grabbing the mother from the ceiling - but then it cuts away to another camera. First off, WHY WOULD YOU EDIT FOUND-FOOTAGE LIKE A HORROR MOVIE!? Second, when it cuts back to her nothing came out of it... so what the hell happened? The very least a FOUND-FOOTAGE movie can do is show that it "respects" the "genre" by trying to make it all seem plausible and doing clever things with the limitations... but 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' just does not care and actively shows its disdain for the "genre".

While I can definitely agree that the first three were "horror movies". These latest three installments can not even pass off as "movies". There is nothing scary about 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' on even the most fundamental level, and this is not me trying to sound tough that I was not scared by a "horror movie", I cannot imagine anyone getting even remotely frightened by anything in here. All the jump scares can be predicted a mile away and when they eventually arrive, it is executed so horribly that the audience did not even react to the loud noise. A lot of the times we just ended up laughing because of how stupid and silly it all was. I will say though there was one guy in the theater who screamed at everything that happened - but it got to the point were it just sounded fake that I think he might have just been messing around. He was probably just as angry as I was that THIS is what passes off as first run features these days.

The 3D in this film is quite possibly the worst I have ever seen in my life. In fact I barely saw the film in 3D because I spent most of the runningtime with my glasses off because it made no difference. Usually the 3D glasses make a blurry and bright screen become a focused and dark screen. Here it just made the screen darker. So much of the running time is just in regular 2D and whenever they actually did use the 3D gimmick, it was just when the 'Spider-Man 3' black goo appeared on the screen. 

And now for the most redundant complaint of any found-footage movie that is not 'The Blair Witch Project'. Why are the characters filming this? Why is the father walking around with a giant 1990's camcorder? I get that he wanted to try it out... but did he really have to try it out all day, for a whole week? Okay, he might have been trying to find the black 'Spider-Man 3' venom goo, but does he really have to actually FILM it all? If he wants to catch evidence on tape (which he never says)... all he has to do is just go through the footage he already has (which is QUITE A LOT BY THE WAY). Near the end when all the shit goes haywire (as usual for a found-footage movie), why is the camera still on? Why does it look like it is on a fucking steadicam, like the person filming it all was completely focused on capturing just the coolest shots of her friends and husband getting murdered in front of her face (oh spoooilers, but who cares, they all end the same way)? Again, throwing the basic idea of "found-footage" out of the window.

While something like the first 'Paranormal Activity' had som kind of inner character drama and quite a lot of development of their relationship (so much so that it forgot it also had to build up the tension but that is a whole other review) - in 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension', there is not even an attempt to develop any of these characters. The husband and wife never have an argument about the ethicality of having the husband set up several cameras inside their childs room and record her sleep all night, every night (in fact unlike the last couple of "movies" they only have four angles, there are two in her room, one outside positioned towards the door to her room and then one filming the living room). It just seems like they apparently agree on everything. In terms of characters, these are the blandest out of the whole series. I cannot even begin to remember any of their names apart from their child Leila - which is only because they scream her name out loud every five minutes.

As I mentioned earlier, this movie is VERY reliant on 'Paranormal Activity 3' to the point were they show several moments from that film. What they also show is the events that happened AFTER the movie. Apparently the demon and the people he possessed recorded themselves as they were bringing Katie and Kristi into the cult (or whatever, who cares). But really why the hell would Toby film all that? What is the point of it? Does the line "Toby does not like you watch us" in 'Paranormal Activity 4' mean nothing? All I can really think of is that he taped it all so the new family in this movie could find it and figure out that something was wrong - but why? If he needs the child Leila (yet another child he needs), why would he be messing about with the family when he could have just kidnapped Leila at the beginning of the movie and indoctrinate her into the cult somewhere else -perhaps in the ghost dimension? Speaking of the ghost dimension, this movie brings back the time travel stuff from 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones' and being a fan of both 'Back To The Future' and 'Doctor Who' I immediately started wondering by the end because in the final shot we see Toby's legs having taken shape of a human - meaning all this paranormal activity stuff has to be done as he has now finally become part of this world. So I was wondering, that stuff takes place in 1988 (time travel, I know) - so if Toby had taken human form by that time - how is he haunting all these  families in the 21st century?

Another quick tidbit that was really weird to me was the obvious ties to the number 666. Their daughter is born on the sixth date of the sixth month... of the fifth year... what? Literally her date of birth is June 6th, 2005. Really odd choice as they could have easily just went with the year 2006, but whatever. Nothing really makes sense here. There is no reason for the characters to film any of this. They never once call the cops or news stations - even though they have undoubted proof of the paranormal ON TAPE. There is nothing clever, nothing new, nothing inspired about 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension'. The filmmakers clearly does not give a damn about the subgenre anymore and I really hope that this is indeed the end for this franchise.

Overall, 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' is awful. It is just the most horrendous, stale, boring, lame "movie" devoid of anything cinematic or even remotely close to "horror" that I have seen in a very long time. The found-footage "genre" is so dead by this point that even the filmmakers does not care about it. They could really just film a regular horror movie, slap the title "Paranormal Activity: The Spookening" on it and it will be just as believable as this movie being found-footage. What I will say about the film though is that I had definitely sobered up by the time it ended. So basically, if you are a drunk asshole that needs to sober up in less than 90 minutes, watch this movie. You might even have a good time for just how insanely dumb the whole thing is. But this is still a god awful movie. Without a doubt the single WORST movie I have seen of 2015.


- Lucas


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