Ghost of a chance

He's behind you: an unnerving moment in Paranormal Activity 4.
He's behind you: an unnerving moment in Paranormal Activity 4.

Paranormal Activity 4 (15)

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman.

Starring: Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Brady Allen, Aiden Lovekamp, Stephen Dunham, Alexondra Lee and Katie Featherston.

Running time: 1hr 27mins

Oren Peli’s low-budget 2009 horror Paranormal Activity was a welcome injection of adrenaline to the horror genre.

Made for a reported $15,000 US dollars and shot in the Israeli-born film-maker’s home, the first film grossed almost $200 million US dollars worldwide, giving birth to a franchise that has churned out sequels at a rate of one film per year.

This fourth chapter propels the narrative forwards five years after the events of Paranormal Activity 2.

While Paranormal Activity 4 is unsettling and honours the established mythology, there’s very little here we haven’t jumped and shrieked at before, and the flimsy storyline doesn’t develop the characters.

We move to the leafy community of Henderson, Nevada, where plucky teenager Alice (Newton) lives with her parents (Dunham, Lee) and younger brother, Wyatt (Lovekamp).

When a single mother, who lives next door, is taken ill, Alice’s mother agrees to provide temporary refuge for the sick woman’s son, Robbie (Allen).

Alice quickly realises there is something peculiar about the new arrival.

With the help of her boyfriend Alex (Matt Shively), who is a technical wizard, Alice rigs up cameras around her family home to spy on Robbie.

The teenagers discover disturbing evidence of a malevolent force in the family home.

But who in their right mind would wander around a house in the dead of night to investigate strange noises with a computer resting in their hands?

Rating: HHHII