Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

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Released 13-Feb-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Deleted Scenes-The Recovered Files (27:47)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 83:36 (Case: 88)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Joost
Ariel Schulman
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Kathryn Newton
Katie Featherston
Matt Shively
Alexondra Lee
Stephen Dunham
Brady Allen
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $23.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Paranormal Activity 4 is the latest instalment in the 'Paranormal' series, marketed towards a late teens/early adult audience, and released around October, in time for Halloween. These movies are essentially the same movie, same scares, same ghosts and most probably enjoy the same audience. The only major difference in Paranormal Activity 4 is the new Xbox Kinect 'night vision' which replaces the blue-tinted night-time shot that has become a signature shot of the series, otherwise, this is the same movie with different actors in a different location.

     In 2006 Katie (Katie Featherston) and baby Hunter vanished from Carlsbad, California after demon-possessed Katie killed her sister Kristi Rey and her husband Daniel. Five years later, in Henderson, Nevada, the Nelson family notice a new family moving next door during Halloween (of course, what better day is there?). Young Alex (Kathryn Newton) and boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) find a young boy in the Nelson family tree house. His name is Robbie (Brady Allen), the new boy from next door. One day Robbie's mother has to go to hospital, so the Nelson family take him in. Robbie befriends Alex's younger brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp) and we soon find out that Robbie has an invisible friend. Ben notices something odd on one of his home recordings, so he initiates extra cameras around the Nelson home to find out what is happening. This leads to a series of events that only get creepier and creepier until the final truth is revealed.

     Paramount has struck up a winning formula in these 'Paranormal' movies because, despite the fact they are so mindlessly repetitive, they each gross over $US100 million against minuscule budgets. The first movie was something new in the horror genre, but the sequels have not deviated from the 'winning' formula at all. You would think that each subsequent offering will lead to a fall in revenue, but this hasn't been the case at all! In fact, a new sequel has been announced, so some of you can look forward to Paranormal Activity 5. Then perhaps the next movie will be titled Normal Activity 6!

     Paranormal Activity 4 is another attempt to show a normal group of characters who slowly become unravelled by mysterious demons. The scares are innocent enough at first, and gradually develop into paranoia and mystery, until thankfully everyone is consumed by it all and the movie has to come to an end. The new Xbox Kinect night vision camera looks great at first, then it just becomes plain annoying. Kathryn Newton as Alex has the greatest character development in this film, and her reactions to each situation is somewhat compelling and believable, but the other characters are forgettable, you won't miss them when they are gone!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Fitting in with the 'found footage' horror-themed genre, Paranormal Activity 4 was shot on laptops, smartphones and consumer video camcorders to heighten the sense of realism, so the video quality here is deliberately substandard.

     The aspect ratio is 1:78:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     The average bitrate of the video transfer is 5.20 m/b per sec. That is average for DVD, however due to the cameras used in this movie, an amount of intentional noise is prevalent in each night-time scene.

     The tones of colour in the film contain noticeable posterization, where colours bleed into each other.

     There are no film artefacts or other artefacts that were introduced into the video transfer, what you got at the cinema is what is on offer here!

     Subtitles are available in English and English for the Hearing Impaired.

     There is no RSDL change as the film is presented on a single-layered DVD 4.14 gb in size.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The main soundtrack can be described as serviceable, without too many sound effects added.

     Both the English and English Descriptive Audio tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 448 kbps.

     Dialogue is clear and understandable, but it is compressed to sound similar to home-video quality.

     As per most 'found footage' films, there is no score.

     The film is mostly mixed for the front channels, there is some directionality in some thumps and creaks.

     The subwoofer only kicks in during the scare scenes in the last act.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Deleted Scenes-The Recovered Files (27:47)

     These extra scenes are presented as extra 'found footage'. In reality, they are extra scenes that were shot for the film as it was mostly improvised from a scripted outline, hence the length of this extra. The scenes don't add anything to the final film in my opinion.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 United States DVD release includes the theatrical cut of the film and the 9-miunte longer extended cut, but not the recovered files extra as included on the Region 4 Australian DVD.

Summary

     If you watched Paranormal Activity 4 at the cinema, you'd have noticed that the post-credits includes a short scene from Paranormal Activity: The Oxnard Tapes, an upcoming Latino spin-off of the Paranormal Activity series. This post-credits scene was taken out of the film for the DVD release.

     The Paranormal Activity franchise is either stuck in a rut, or is super-dependable, depending on your bias as Paranormal Activity 4 is very much like its predecessors. The replay value here of this film is minimal in my opinion, despite the deleted scenes included as the main extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Friday, June 28, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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