Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Review: The grand finale is neither new nor interesting

Mihir Fadnavis

Oct 30, 2015 11:45:02 IST

When the first Paranormal Activity released, people went crazy. The found footage genre had been getting old and weary, and Paranormal Activity juiced things up just enough to get people’s attention. The film was made for almost zero dollars, shot with cheap cameras, set within a house, and yet it was somehow scary. The result – Steven Spielberg saw the film and realized there’s a great franchise potential, and even suggested a different climax.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Review: The grand finale is neither new nor interesting

A scene from Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Screengrab from YouTube

Eight years on, we’ve had six movies that did the exact same thing, and now the formula has worn thin, and every subsequent movie has had diminishing returns both quality wise and financially. With Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the Paranormal franchise filmmakers tend to wrap things up once and for all. On that front, the final film does answer a few questions that left audiences scratching their heads over the course of six films – but it does so by following the exact same template of the previous films.

This film was delayed by a couple of years, but any hope of the delay incorporated to add a coherent story or some fun fades away quite quickly. Once again we have a family that moves into a new home, once again the cameras are set up for no reason, once again there is strange activity going on in the house, and no one suspects anything, the kid starts behaving weirdly and sees strange things that the others can’t, until the inevitable the last ten minutes where things end on a feeble shock value cheap scare. This is the pattern that every film in the franchise has followed to the hilt, and director Gregory Plotkin does little to mix things up for the viewer.

The ghost in question that has been haunting various families throughout the franchise finally makes a full fledged appearance in this film, but its origins, and the explanations for the hauntings over the past few years transcend ridiculous levels. Of course looking for solid logic in a movie about a ghost is futile but Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’s attempts at tying up storylines are lame even by bad horror movie standards.

The most frustrating part, however, is that there is no sense of closure whatsoever despite Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension being marketed as the final movie in the canon. The climax features the predictable last minute mayhem unfolding on screen and the story simply drifts away before the credits roll, neither promising a sequel nor indicating any sort of closure of the arc built over these many years.

Moreover it’s impossible to care about the cookie cutter characters in the film, so when they start dying the film feels like it’s just going through the motions. The special effects are still as cheap as they were in the original movie, hardly inciting any scares. By now the Paranormal series audience is conditioned to expect what scares would arrive when, so even though the volume is cranked up to deafening levels it hardly makes any impact.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension ultimately is more an annoyance than a grand series finale. It neither ups the stakes nor does it offer anything new or interesting to take away from the franchise. The Saw series at least had a schlocky punch in the final movie, this one ends on a mere belly flop.

Updated Date: Oct 30, 2015 11:45:02 IST