Plot: What’s it about?
Horror movies are probably the most fun films to watch as the evoke a somewhat primordial response (from me, anyway). There’s that feeling of not knowing what will happen, a loud scream, a sudden movement and then…POW! You spill your popcorn all over the floor. Or do you? You see, some horror films and some nearly qualify as franchises nowadays, have become so complacent that it’s not really fun to watch them anymore. Is this the case with the Paranormal Activity movies? Seven years ago we were first treated to the first Paranormal Activity film and it took the world by storm. There weren’t any real “monsters” to speak of, no masked villains who were taking out people one by one. No, this was a much more sedated movie about things that literally go “bump” in the night. And when you think about it, what could be more frightening than not feeling safe in your own home – much less dealing with something that you can’t even be sure is real or not? And thus a franchise began.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension doesn’t really break any new ground here. If you’ve seen the previous films, it’s essentially a different take on what we’ve already seen. This time around we meet Ryan (Chris J. Murray), wife Emily (Brit Shaw), and their daughter Leila (Ivy George). Ryan’s brother (Dan Gill), shows up as some sort of comic relief. There’s also some hardly seen blonde named Skyler (Olivia Taylor Dudley) who seems to serve no purpose in the film whatsoever. An old studio VHS camera is found and, when played, it seems that the videos show something that’s not there. We once again meet the two siblings of Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) and as the film progresses, we can guess (and already know) what will happen.
Video: How’s it look?
Like its predecessors, it’s kind of hard to assign a video score to these films as we see the movie through the eyes of a video camera. The “found footage” genre makes this difficult. Of course this one wasn’t shot on VHS, but that is the intended effect. Nevertheless, the 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer is a bit hit and miss, though I’m positive the effect is intentional. We get a variety of film formats from the bluish images seen at night to the over enhanced images shot indoors during the day. Again, this is consistent with the other films in the series so there’s more of the same to expect here.
Audio: How’s it sound?
It’s as if they cloned the sound effects from the first few films and said “Ok, that’ll work here as well.” By and large these films are all dialogue driven with some very long scenes of really nothing happening with the audio. Yes, there are a few instances of a “THOOMP!” or a “THUD!” that do give the audience a little jolt, but the main action taking place is the dialogue. It’s a bit muffled, but I feel it’s true to the source (the video cameras). The audio is by no means bad, but don’t expect it to be the highlight of your collection. This DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack does have a few moments, but they’re few and far between.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Deleted Scenes – A bevy of “lost scenes” are featured here though none really add anything to the film itself.
- Extended Version – Adding nine minutes to the theatrical cut, this too doesn’t add that much to the movie.
- Alternate Ending – Actually clocking in less time than the extended version, the alternate ending offers just that – a different take on the theatrical ending.
The Bottom Line
Like the Final Destination films, the Paranormal Activity films have run their course. They started out fine, essentially started a new genre of films (found footage) and gave us all a few scares. But that time has past. While the Blu-ray offers above average audio and video quality, the movie itself is just not a good viewing experience.