One of the primary faults behind “Paranormal Activity 4” is that it makes promises it just can’t keep. It swears new scares with the use of the kinect and light beams and doesn’t quite fulfill the potential for the plot device. It introduces a new protagonist, but never fully develops her. And most importantly it explains that it has all led up to this, but there really isn’t a huge development in the storyline. I’m still not sure why what happened happens at all, and what they’re leading in to, but according to Dreamworks, we have two more films left in this series, and more films with a Latin spin off that will likely continue the mythos well in to 2019. If possible.
In the first “Paranormal Activity,” director Oren Peli seemed to have a one off horror movie in mind, but did allude to a lot of back story during the film. We do know from the first movie that Katie had been suffering from odd hauntings all her life, and had blocked out a lot of her childhood leaving the door open for the mysterious demon to enter in to the lives of she and her husband Micah. “Paranormal Activity 3” ventures even further back and widens the scope of the narrative to explore the deeper mythos behind the series of hauntings that took the lives of Katie and her husband.
Whether or not you enjoy “Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night” is directly proportioned to whether or not you enjoy the “Paranormal Activity” franchise at all. At the end of the day this is Japan’s piece of the Paranormal pie and it is officially a sequel to and an extension of Oren Peli’s lore that he established with he first film and that has been established with the second film. This is not the first time an American film has seen a foreign sequel matched with an American sequel as George Romero saw his film “Dawn of the Dead” become its own franchise in Italy while “Day of the Dead” was simultaneously released and for once it’s refreshing to see Japan take on an American hit film and provide their own adaptation of the source material.
Like it or not, “Paranormal Activity” was the indie success story of the decade. After the big take off of “The Blair Witch Project,” director Oren Peli proved a valuable successor to the end of the twentieth century sensation by providing a horror film for the digital age where the chronicling of a couple at the mercy of a demon was filmed through HD camcorders and the advent of the then seasoned instrument of the worldwide web. “Paranormal Activity 2” commits what is almost an impossible task. It completely compliments the storyline of the original film while also adding to it.
In the days of overexposed, computer heavy FX extravaganzas, horror films that go for a more subtle build of terror are usually dismissed as cheap throwaways that just don’t have the budget to compete with the big studio thrill rides. It’s no secret that the “less is more” philosophy is the independent filmmaker’s best friend, but occasionally there comes along a movie that embraces its sense of mystery and uses a building sense of menace to its advantage.