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C'mon Hollywood: The Paranormal Activity franchise needs to be put to rest!

Nov. 13, 2013by:

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?
Source: JoBlo.com

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6:45PM on 11/13/2013
These series is not entertaining, I mean this could have very easliy been a web series instead and probably done better, but to make it for mainstream movie theater watching is beyond enough. This series should end now!
These series is not entertaining, I mean this could have very easliy been a web series instead and probably done better, but to make it for mainstream movie theater watching is beyond enough. This series should end now!
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4:40PM on 11/13/2013
PLEASE put this series that became lame so long ago to rest. Pretty please....
PLEASE put this series that became lame so long ago to rest. Pretty please....
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3:38PM on 11/13/2013
While 2 and 3 were good they should have went with the alt ending from the first film and let the series end before it started.
While 2 and 3 were good they should have went with the alt ending from the first film and let the series end before it started.
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3:25PM on 11/13/2013
I never understood why people love these films, just found them boring & unoriginal and after the first film the makers didn't care as long as they could make a profit, V/H/S has lots of faults but its still twice as original as these movies
I never understood why people love these films, just found them boring & unoriginal and after the first film the makers didn't care as long as they could make a profit, V/H/S has lots of faults but its still twice as original as these movies
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3:40PM on 11/13/2013
Maybe I'm in the minority but i find V/H/S 2 to be much better than the first. That fucking story when they visit the cult is just crazy creepy and awesome.
Maybe I'm in the minority but i find V/H/S 2 to be much better than the first. That fucking story when they visit the cult is just crazy creepy and awesome.
3:47PM on 11/13/2013
I agree, that cult story was completely insane, and the one with the guy having the camera eye and seeing ghosts was more jumpy in that little time than anything paranormal activity has ever done :)
I agree, that cult story was completely insane, and the one with the guy having the camera eye and seeing ghosts was more jumpy in that little time than anything paranormal activity has ever done :)
2:47PM on 11/13/2013

Let's Move On

Agreed, this series has run its course. I enjoyed the original, but it didn't have a concept that could sustain a film series. Several different families can only document their life with video cameras so many times...
Agreed, this series has run its course. I enjoyed the original, but it didn't have a concept that could sustain a film series. Several different families can only document their life with video cameras so many times...
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2:29PM on 11/13/2013
Completely agree with you. PA 1-3 were pretty good and made for a good story regarding the demon that haunts this family. Never even saw PA 4 because after the third there wasn't anywhere else to go and I heard the plot about it being some neighbour that peripherally gets haunted by the demon or something like that, it sounded lame.
I say just end it! Why does every horror franchise need be milked until the entire thing becomes a laughable mess? It happened with Saw, it happened with
Completely agree with you. PA 1-3 were pretty good and made for a good story regarding the demon that haunts this family. Never even saw PA 4 because after the third there wasn't anywhere else to go and I heard the plot about it being some neighbour that peripherally gets haunted by the demon or something like that, it sounded lame.
I say just end it! Why does every horror franchise need be milked until the entire thing becomes a laughable mess? It happened with Saw, it happened with Friday the 13th, and it happened with Halloween. Why can't they just put out a few quality movies, realize when it's not working anymore then close up shop and look for another potential franchise to invest in.
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2:49PM on 11/13/2013
Well...we know how that'll end....Hollywood will milk this cow for all it's worth....and then some asshole screenwriter will reboot the works, and get a pat on the back for an unimaginitive, re-hashed idea! Assholes!
Well...we know how that'll end....Hollywood will milk this cow for all it's worth....and then some asshole screenwriter will reboot the works, and get a pat on the back for an unimaginitive, re-hashed idea! Assholes!
1:25PM on 11/13/2013

End it!

The first PA was a great, new take on the horror/possession genre, and the second one was well done. The third & fouth were unneccessary, and not needed. Enough is enough, and please Hollywood: PLEASE DON'T REBOOT the series in five years or so because your screenwriters can't come up with a decent, coherent idea.
The first PA was a great, new take on the horror/possession genre, and the second one was well done. The third & fouth were unneccessary, and not needed. Enough is enough, and please Hollywood: PLEASE DON'T REBOOT the series in five years or so because your screenwriters can't come up with a decent, coherent idea.
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12:50PM on 11/13/2013

Fuck this

I'll be waiting for the next Saw and Trick R Treat.
I'll be waiting for the next Saw and Trick R Treat.
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11:34AM on 11/13/2013
This franchise is a one-hit wonder. There should be only one Paranormal Activity and that's it.
This franchise is a one-hit wonder. There should be only one Paranormal Activity and that's it.
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2:49PM on 11/13/2013
Amen!
Amen!
+4
11:28AM on 11/13/2013
I guess I'm one of those who found the first film to be boring. I had no intention of seeing the other films, but did end up watching the 3rd one on Netflix, only cuz my kid wanted to watch them. And it still bored me. So I think they should just stop making them.
I guess I'm one of those who found the first film to be boring. I had no intention of seeing the other films, but did end up watching the 3rd one on Netflix, only cuz my kid wanted to watch them. And it still bored me. So I think they should just stop making them.
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2:47PM on 11/13/2013
I'm with you. I was completely bored with the first film, so when I hear people say they liked the first one and the sequels were boring, I'm thinking, what can be more boring than nothing. Because that's what happen in the first film, nothing, except for the last 10 min., which I read Steven Speilberg redid himself, and that cost like 10 times the budget of the entire film,
I'm with you. I was completely bored with the first film, so when I hear people say they liked the first one and the sequels were boring, I'm thinking, what can be more boring than nothing. Because that's what happen in the first film, nothing, except for the last 10 min., which I read Steven Speilberg redid himself, and that cost like 10 times the budget of the entire film,
+1
10:24AM on 11/13/2013

I enjoyed the first 3 but...

Your problem is as follows. The first movie took a $15K budget, the three additional installments cost you $5 million each. You can negate the budget of the first just for simplicity, and say you've invested $15 million into these films. Great. Now you have the box office success, $193 million, $175 million, $207 million, and $147 million. Even at #4 being the worse, it obviously crushed at the box office. I agree something new needs to be done, but if you keep your budget at $5 million dollars
Your problem is as follows. The first movie took a $15K budget, the three additional installments cost you $5 million each. You can negate the budget of the first just for simplicity, and say you've invested $15 million into these films. Great. Now you have the box office success, $193 million, $175 million, $207 million, and $147 million. Even at #4 being the worse, it obviously crushed at the box office. I agree something new needs to be done, but if you keep your budget at $5 million dollars and even if the next two films only make $75 million each, you still made an absolute killing. Essentially you've invested $15 million dollars, for a $700 million return. It's going to take these next two installments literally crashing at the box office to kill off this series.
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3:44PM on 11/13/2013
Agreed money talks and bullshit walks. It's simple economics, they make bank!
Agreed money talks and bullshit walks. It's simple economics, they make bank!
+5
10:19AM on 11/13/2013

what bothers me most

is what is the point of watching a malevolent being that obviously cant be seen or touched and has no weakness or defense against it? Why would I watch and care about these characters if nothing can be done, if they are doomed form the start and cant even put up a good fight whats the point?
is what is the point of watching a malevolent being that obviously cant be seen or touched and has no weakness or defense against it? Why would I watch and care about these characters if nothing can be done, if they are doomed form the start and cant even put up a good fight whats the point?
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11:24AM on 11/13/2013
WORD!
WORD!
+1
10:04AM on 11/13/2013

THAT'S THE THING: THE STORY NEVER HAD ANYWHERE TO GO.

1 ended on a cliffhanger that was never meant to be followed. 2 was a midquel that added an extra layer to that cliffhanger with another cliffhanger. 3 was a prequel that explained things. 4 was meant to be the first one to continue the story, but they couldn't do that without ruining the ending of 1. And they also had the pressure of not tying things up in order to secure another installment. They should've stopped at 1.

Extra tidbit (my ratings): 1 - 8/10; 2 - 7/10; 3 - 6/10; 4 - 3/10;
1 ended on a cliffhanger that was never meant to be followed. 2 was a midquel that added an extra layer to that cliffhanger with another cliffhanger. 3 was a prequel that explained things. 4 was meant to be the first one to continue the story, but they couldn't do that without ruining the ending of 1. And they also had the pressure of not tying things up in order to secure another installment. They should've stopped at 1.

Extra tidbit (my ratings): 1 - 8/10; 2 - 7/10; 3 - 6/10; 4 - 3/10; TOKYO NIGHT - 3/10.
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3:47PM on 11/13/2013
I think they changed the ending for franchise purposes. Watch the alt ending from the first film. SPOILER! She walks up to the camera and slits her own throat and roll credits. One and done. But I dig 2 and 3. 4 was garbage.
I think they changed the ending for franchise purposes. Watch the alt ending from the first film. SPOILER! She walks up to the camera and slits her own throat and roll credits. One and done. But I dig 2 and 3. 4 was garbage.
8:23AM on 11/13/2013
The first three were great and built up the mythology very nicely, but the fourth one completely sucked and gave us no answers whatsoever, nor did it progress the story in any way.

I would like to see them do two more films and just finish the story already. End it on a high note and not turn this franchise isn't something that started out great, than turned to crap.
The first three were great and built up the mythology very nicely, but the fourth one completely sucked and gave us no answers whatsoever, nor did it progress the story in any way.

I would like to see them do two more films and just finish the story already. End it on a high note and not turn this franchise isn't something that started out great, than turned to crap.
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2:53PM on 11/13/2013
The story was done after PA.....there's no need for several more bullshit sequels.
The story was done after PA.....there's no need for several more bullshit sequels.
5:34AM on 11/13/2013

Loved the first one!

But hated the second! It was boring, lazy, unimaginative and most importantly it just wasn't scary! I've never watched the third because of the second, although I hear it's better than the second.

I had no idea there was a fourth until I saw it whilst browsing on netflix.

I couldn't care less about either of the "new" films coming out next year.

It was just one of those films that didn't need a sequel. Another film ruined by it's poor follow ups!
But hated the second! It was boring, lazy, unimaginative and most importantly it just wasn't scary! I've never watched the third because of the second, although I hear it's better than the second.

I had no idea there was a fourth until I saw it whilst browsing on netflix.

I couldn't care less about either of the "new" films coming out next year.

It was just one of those films that didn't need a sequel. Another film ruined by it's poor follow ups!
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4:53AM on 11/13/2013
I agree that it's enough. But after they finished, it will be a couple of years for them to start a reboot of the franchise. Remakes are so last year... Now, they call it reboot.
I agree that it's enough. But after they finished, it will be a couple of years for them to start a reboot of the franchise. Remakes are so last year... Now, they call it reboot.
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1:55AM on 11/13/2013
Hollywood can be summed up as all the execs with ceremonial daggers in their hands, looking at the sacred cash cow, looking back at the dagger, then going "nah."
Hollywood can be summed up as all the execs with ceremonial daggers in their hands, looking at the sacred cash cow, looking back at the dagger, then going "nah."
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