Paranormal Activity 5 review: This movie can go to hell

  • Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 24, 2015 10:19 IST
Creepy kid with a death wish stares into the abyss. And the abyss stares back. (Paramount Pictures)

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Cast: Chris J Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, Dan Gill, Olivia Taylor Dudley
Director: Gregory Plotkin
Rating: 0.5/5

You walk into Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension expecting a good time, understanding perfectly well that it’s the sixth entry of a franchise severely in need of an exorcism and you really don’t have any business expecting anything from it.

Still, you’ve done your homework. You’ve at least contemplated if not gone through with a marathon of the all the previous movies of the series. You’re aware this is the last one. They’ve promised you it is. You even pulled up the Wikipedia page and brushed up on all the plot points before hand. Midway through your revision you realised the absurdity of your actions. You laugh it off as temporary stupidity because honestly, who goes to a Paranormal Activity flick looking for dramatic heft. You really are psyched about this. All your Paranormal Activity questions will finally be answered. Your excitement knows no bounds.

It begins to fall apart real fast. They said it was in 3D. The CBFC certificate signed by Pahlaj Nihalani also said it was in 3D. Then where is it? You check your bulky glasses. They seem to be fine. You look around, worried that you are the only one cursed with a spoilt movie experience but you notice similar confusion in the faces of the others. Why, oh why?

You’ve met the doomed family. Their names escape you. But they fill the generic Paranormal Activity mould you’ve grown to love and hate. There’s the creepy little child the demon Toby seems rather creepily attracted to. You wonder what’s up with that. You’re sure others find it odd too. But, you move on. You’ve got a Paranormal Activity movie to watch.

Creepy child doomed to die. (Paramount Pictures)

You try to make sense of who’s who and give that up pretty quickly. You’re there for the jump scares anyway. And the first one should be right around the corner. Weird stuff has already started happening to the weird family. At least you think they’re a family. There is a mysteriously objectified woman with an encyclopaedic knowledge of ghosts in the picture. You’re not entirely sure why she’s there. When it finally hits you, you’re embarrassed at your innocence.

The sex object doomed to die. (Paramount Pictures)

Suddenly, something jumps out at you, and a few seconds later you realise that it was meant to scare you. No matter, you think to yourself. So what if that didn’t work. There are many more from where that came from. Oh, and the 3D is finally working, you observe. It apparently only comes on during the scary scenes. You try and cast back your memory. No, you conclude. You can’t think of another movie that uses 3D only partially.

“I hate this family,” one of the indistinguishable men yells. You find yourself nodding in agreement and look down at your watch. It’s only been fifteen minutes. You look around uneasily and your mind starts wandering. What a great day it was outside, you think. The weather’s changing and you might want pizza later. Yes, that sounds like a good plan. BOOM! A loud sound effect brings you back to reality. With another shake of the head it dawns upon you that you’ve missed another jump scare.

The creepy child, trying very hard to die. (Paramount Pictures)

A priest enters the picture. Ah, this is going to be good now. Priests in a horror movie are like Bill Murray in a Wes Anderson film: They’re only going to be there for a short while, but they know that they’re the real stars. By the time you’ve finished replaying another great scene from The Exorcist in your head you’ve missed like 20 minutes.

There are talks of a Ghost Dimension. Oh hey! That’s what this movie is called. Finally, something that makes sense. Good thing that they were too embarrassed to add 6 to the end of the title. Ghost Dimension here I come!

Father Todd, yes his name is Todd, proposes an exorcism to save the creepy little girl from Toby. Todd is such a funny name for a priest, you contemplate. Especially if that priest is going to perform a serious exorcism on a little girl. No, if it was you making the decisions, you would most definitely have asked for another priest. Someone with a trustworthy name. John maybe.

Watch the trailer here, if you dare

Why don’t these fools just get the hell out of here, you demand from nobody in particular. Why don’t they stop leaving the little girl alone in the room!? They know evil demons lurk around in her room at night? You give up. There’s nothing you can do about it so there’s no need to have a fit. Grow up and watch Paranormal Activity, you tell yourself.

You loved the first movie. It was a classic. It terrified your desensitised brain. You even liked the sequel. Sure, it wasn’t as good as the first one but hey, you had a good time. And how cool was that cool swinging fan gimmick they had going on in 3? Really good is the answer. You even defended 4 and that weird latino spinoff to the haters. You were really psyched about this movie. None of your Paranormal Activity questions have been answered. You dejectedly come to terms with the truth: This movie has let you down.

You have such fond memories of the first movie. You wonder why they decided to throw out everything that was so great about it in this one. You remember peeking at the corners of the frame, looking for the ghost to make a ‘thump’. This time they just go ahead and show you the damn thing. Why? We were perfectly fine guessing what he looked like. You had no particular desire to put a face to a faceless demon. That’s exactly what you actually loved about this series. What must’ve possessed them, you wonder, smiling at the genius pun you’ve come up with.

You walk out with the hope that they stick to their promise and end this nonsense already. You know the best jump scare they can come up with is announcing part 7. A part of you feels pity, but that part slowly dies as your eyes adjust to the sunlight.

The author tweets @NaaharRohan

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