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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension 2015 * * 1/2 Stars

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost DimensionDirector: Gregory Plotkin
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw

The Paranormal Activity franchise has now churned out six movies. The latest issue is called Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (my most current review). Right after seeing "Dimension", I decided to look up its wiki page. In said page, it stated that this October release is supposed to be the final chapter. Uh huh. I'm sure the producers will figure out a way to make another one. After all, these flicks come with a micro budget and make a ton of money. The formula is always the same: 1. have unknown actors/actresses headline while forcing them to act like complete tools. 2. include characters that are rich or well off (with nice houses) and let their families get terrorized by evil spirits. 3. have said characters run around while filming everything even though their lives are in total danger. 4. have children involved and feature them seeing or hearing things that no one else does. 5. include no background music. 6. finally, try to tie in the current "Activity" installment with other installments by way of various clues left behind.

Anyway, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension with its rookie director and ameliorated special effects, contains these factoids plus a few minor differences. It cost more to make than any of the other follow-ups, it negates a hook in which you see actual ghosts this time around (hence the title), it takes place during the silly season (Christmas to be exact), and lastly, it doesn't feature Katie Featherston in a cameo (oh well). So am I recommending it? Not exactly. There's a few creepy moments, a couple of jolting scares, and one hot mama (Olivia Taylor Dudley as houseguest vixen, Skyler). Unfortunately, "Dimension" just feels reused from all the other sequels that came before it (same text on the screen, different director, same producer). Oh and if this is the way the filmmakers are gonna wrap things up, they should've avoided almost copying the endings via Paranormal Activity's 23, and 4. Talk about a weak denouement.

Now out of all five of the previous Paranormal Activity flicks, "Dimension" randomly decides to filter its story in through the third vehicle (sisters Katie and Kristi circa 1988) and the second vehicle (the young child Hunter is mentioned and is shown on a home video). The proceedings take place in Santa Rosa, CA with plenty of obligatory, found footage to boot (sometimes it's hard to tell what's being documented here and what's just plain old Panavision). Then there's the narrative which gives us the Fleege family. They consist of Ryan Fleege (Chris J. Murray), Emily Fleege (Brit Shaw), and Leila Fleege (Ivy George). They move into a new house not knowing that it was built over a previous one that burnt down. While unpacking in their new abode, Ryan notices a video camera left behind from the past owners. There are also plenty of VHS tapes laying around. These tapes contain a sinister and supernatural plan put into motion over twenty years ago. And whenever anyone attempts to film anything or any person, ghostly images appear on the old video camera's lens. Happy holidays everybody!

In retrospect, I have only heralded the first two Paranormal Activity films as being anywhere near advantageous. The inaugural one I felt, effectively piggybacked The Blair Witch Project. The third one although not great, had some solid roving (and panning), camera techniques which upped the flinching, fear factor. Bottom line: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension isn't awful, it's just ho-hum. You could rank it evenly with 34, and 5 (whose actual title is "The Marked Ones"). Call it a cash grab. Call it horror deja vu. My rating: 2 and a half stars.

Of note: "Dimension" takes place in 2013. That's right 2013. There's a scene where Brit Shaw's Emily looks up a phone number for a priest to exorcise her house. She does this by festering through the yellow pages. Huh? I thought people nowadays used stuff like computers or smartphones to get information (that's how you find that search engine called Google, right). This is an interesting oversight if I do say so myself.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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