C'mon Hollywood: The Paranormal Activity franchise needs to be put to rest!
Without sounding like a hater, I love PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. I don't think I've ever been more afraid in a movie theater and even several nights later, I was still affected by that final image of Katie Featherstone. While the second and third entries were also really good, that fourth one was, well, really bad. While I wouldn't say PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was the worst horror film I've ever seen, it's certainly one of the most boring, least scary and anticlimactic ones. Has the series gotten to that point where it doesn't have anything up its sleeve anymore? Has it come time to finally put it all to a stop? I don't know how to answer that question simply, but yeah. Yeah, it has. † ††
Before I begin, thereís something I have to confess. Whenever a new PA film was announced for release, I was never completely on board with it. After the simplistic brilliance of the first one, I couldnít imagine any sequel being half as good (especially with the quick annual releases). Even though I walked into both sequels with skepticism, I thought they were surprisingly good. A lot of the cleverness of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 came from the fact that they were both prequels and somehow, they made an origin story for Katie and Kristi and the demon that followed them actually work. After the third film (loosely) tied things up and the series came full circle, no one knew where the fourth one would go, but when I saw what was in store for the next entry, my cynical expectations were met and we finally got our first bad Activity. For these next PA entries, I canít see it going much differently.†
2013 saw its first year without a new PA movie, but with 2014 underway, we now have not one, but two new movies. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES will be released in January and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5 will be released in October. What started off as a micro-budget success story is now tired and old. While I love PA 2 and PA 3, thereís no denying the familiarity of it all and with PA 4 being a critical failure (not to mention making only about half of what PA3 did in the box office), it doesnít seem like people are on board with the supernatural business as they were a few years ago. Again, PA was never meant to continue past the first entry. It was a simple, cheap (albeit brilliant) movie that made more cash than anyone expected and instead of closing things off on an acceptable note, the story and origins keep getting deeper and more complicated and itís only a matter of time before the unnecessary amount of bad sequels outweigh the good.†
Basically, these movies are ridiculously cheap to make and the studios know it. Even after the monumental success of the first film, PA 2 - PA 4 only cost around $3 - $5 million to make. I get the concept of making these things on a very small budget and getting a large chunk of change in return, but do the execs really have to be so frugal? Take some time to flesh out a decent, well written story and spend a little more money on the people creatively in charge of these films! PA 3 had the edge of bringing on Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (the dudes that helmed CATFISH) to direct. While their attempt at PA 4 wasn't too hot, why isn't this trend of newcomers continuing?†
Christopher Landon, who helped write all of PA's sequels and is now set to direct PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES, goes against PA 3's advantage (having creative minds who had nothing to do with PA before be in charge) and with that, we were presented with something new and fresh. PA 5 is getting editor Gregory Plotkin to direct, who has worked on some good, non-PA related stuff in the past, but why are we getting an assistant editor to DIRECT the fifth entry in a franchise where the loss of quality and redundancies has lost its fans? The cheap way that they've been going about the production of these films makes it seem like they couldn't give less of a shit as far as quality is concerned and as long as they can continue leaving each film open ended with room for another sequel, that's what seems most important to them. I suppose with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES, they're at least trying something different, but if so much emphasis is being put upon building the mythology while expanding the story to a whole new group of characters, it seems even worse than another straight up sequel.†
So, C'mon, Hollywood! It's time to reevaluate the way you've been treating the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise. If it's not going to stop anytime soon, at least put forth a solid effort to give us something different, unexpected and (most importantly) good. PA is something that has seemingly always divided critics and audiences, but it's finally come to that point where everyone is in frustrated agreement and unless it finds a new (and improved) route to take or just closes up shop for good, they're only going to run themselves further into the ground and a remake will be inevitable.†
|Extra Tidbit:||What's your favorite/least favorite entry in the series?|