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I've always had a lot of respect for the "Paranormal Activity" movies,
if not a whole lot of love. "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension"
(R, 1:28) is the sixth installment in the series, which has scared up
about $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide, against less than $25
million in production expenses. The original "Paranormal Activity"
(2009) was filmed in the house owned by Oren Peli, who was the film's
producer, director, writer, cinematographer and editor. Peli made that
film for $15,000 and it ended up earning nearly $200 million worldwide
almost 13 THOUSAND times what it cost. This, of course, was the film
that started that billion dollar franchise and, co-produced by Jason
Blum, helped establish Blumhouse Productions, which eventually brought
horror fans the "Insidious", "Sinister" and "The Purge" films, as well
as the Best Picture Oscar Nominee "Whiplash" in 2014. Now THAT'S a
success story that anyone who has ever tried to make a buck on their
own idea or vision has to respect
but what Movie Fans really want to
know about a movie is whether it's any good. That's what matters to us.
Personally, I liked all of the "Paranormal Activity" movies but I didn't LOVE them. As they were bringing us creative stories, helping to turn the found-footage subgenre from a novelty into a viable filmmaking option, redefining horror movies for the 21st century and giving audiences thrills, chills and our fills of plot twists, there was a downside to the fun. For one thing, the "Paranormal" movies did what the "Fast & Furious" series did give us films out of the sequence of the overall narratives of its characters but even tougher to keep straight. The other problem with the "Paranormal" films has always been a lack of action. Although they've put some scary and interesting moments on the screen, in most of the movies, not a whole lot happens especially in the first one which seems overly dependent on the single big payoff at the very end of the film. The advertising for "The Ghost Dimension" promises a franchise-capping story that will answer all of the fans' questions and take us where no "Paranormal Activity" has taken us before. The question is whether the sixth installment gives the series the ending fans deserve.
"Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" takes place in 2013, after the events of "Paranormal Activity 2" and reflective of the events in "Paranormal Activity 3", from a present-day perspective. Young married couple Ryan and Emily Fleege (Chris J. Murray and Brit Shaw) move into a house built on the land where the home of Katie and Micah stood in the first film. Ryan and Emily have a little girl named Leila (Ivy George), whom they call Lee, and Emily's sister Skyler (Olivia Taylor Dudley) lives there too. When Ryan's brother, Mike (Dan Gill), newly separated from his wife, comes to stay for a couple weeks, there are then enough unsuspecting people in the house for the ghosts to begin tormenting.
While setting up Ryan's Christmas decorations, Ryan and Mike come across a mysterious box that Ryan says isn't his. Inside there is a series of VHS video tapes and an old, but uniquely upgraded video camera. The tapes show the young Kristi and Katie, circa 1988, being introduced to Toby (as in the third film) and being taught to make the most of their psychic abilities. That camera has the ability to see and record spectral phenomena. As Ryan and Mike try to figure out what's really happening on those tapes and record increasingly prominent ghost-like apparitions, Lee is observed talking to an invisible "friend" and behaving very oddly. At first, the Fleeges try to solve the mystery and protect the little girl themselves. They eventually call in a priest (Michael Krawic), but it starts to look like it might all be too little, too late.
"Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" is a very disappointing ending to the groundbreaking series. The film suffers from the same malady as all the others not enough action and not enough dread until the very end. The special effects are good, with paranormal wisps of black smoke looking a lot like those in "Crimson Peak", and the 3-D gives a very nice depth to the shots of that wide-open house and those spectral images and it serves the few brief action scenes pretty well. Unfortunately, contrary to what the movie's advertising would lead us to believe, our peek into the Ghost Dimension is frustratingly fleeting, with even the "Poltergeist" remake doing a better job of showing us "the other side". This movie has a half-way decent climactic scene, but the story's ultimate resolution and the final image on the screen elicited dissatisfied groans from my fellow theater patrons. Although I settled for the more subtle eye roll myself, I felt their pain. Basically, this movie gives us the standard "Paranormal Activity" formula, but without a worthwhile payoff. Much like the ghosts that the films portray, the 2015 installment shows that the "Paranormal Activity" movies have outlived their usefulness and should just fade away. "C-"
Oren Peli must be mortified that this movie "follows" his sleeper hit, the original Paranormal Activity. I have seen each of the following films - in theaters, I must add. After PA 4 (the worst one until this one), I had little to no expectations for this movie. Somehow, I was still disappointed. This movie takes everything that made the humble Paranormal Activity good and does the polar opposite, such as replacing the long, tense silences with synthy sound effects of the physical evidence of Toby moving around the frame. Too much is shown and too little explained. And really? 3D? I left the theater only thinking that there could be another one, and that fact alone is scarier than anything in the movie.
Remember Saw? Remember what happened to that franchise? After becoming
a Halloween staple, it was immediately overshadowed by the newer,
fresher Paranormal Activity series, with the last Saw using 3D as a
final resort to churn out one more film from the dying franchise. Now,
we're seeing the same thing from Paranormal Activity. In fact, the
desperation to milk one last film is apparent, and it's sad. Alas, this
is the cycle every horror franchise goes through. I have to admit, I
personally enjoyed this series longer than I would expect. To call PA4
disappointing is an understatement, but The Marked Ones made up for it
and surprised the hell out of me.
However, TGD is easily the worst film in the series, one of the worst films of the year, and a sad, cynical, soulless attempt to salvage whatever is left from this franchise. There's literally nothing memorable here, nothing iconic. It's all so generic and inept, from the constant jump scares, to the forgettable actors, to the 3D, which is used in the most clichéd way possible. The story doesn't make a lick of sense compared to all the buildup in the previous films, most likely due to the noticeable absence of Christopher Landon, who wrote all the sequels up until this point. And why the hell did it take two years for four writers to write the script? Was that really necessary? Overall, there's not much to be said about TGD because there's not much to actually talk about. By the time of writing this review, I've already forgotten about 90% of the movie, and you will too. So don't watch it. You don't need to see the activity. Whatever you come up with in your imagination is probably far scarier than this movie would ever dream to achieve.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't even know if I want to do the review of this film. I feel like
my review has more depth than the plot of this film. Good lord, I try
to keep these reviews as professional as I can. I even try not to
include spoilers, because I want people to go out and see the movie
themselves, but good lord in heaven, I mean it quite literally, this
film was possibly the biggest let-down all year. You can't spoil
something like this, because there's nothing to spoil. I don't feel
like the screenwriters took the time to write anything down. They kind
of just wrote down brainstorms, and payed the actors to improv them on
As usual with the other films, we seem to carry our cameras around almost obscenely. Nobody, and I mean nobody, carries a camera around for no reason like that. It makes the realism of the movie seem so faked, and unreal. That's something you can yell at the entire series for. What makes the obsessive camera-use even worse, is the fact that they try to address it in this film, but do so....miserably. "Do these people film everything?" Said one of the characters, and then goes on to see his brother film everything.
Good lord the plot was just so poorly written. They created a really good thing for themselves in this film. They started it out very well, except for one problem, they didn't carry it out very well. They for whatever reason, thought that it was a good idea to create wrinkles in the plots of the earlier movies, by showing older tapes of the 1988 events, and then cutting to "ritual sessions" that weren't part of the tape in the first place. They show the two sisters being able to see into the newer house. And then, it just stops. The writers must have forgotten that they put that in there, because they never mention it again. It literally had nothing to do with the plot. All it did was make way for a cheap jump scare. They left a lot of things unexplained, such as where Toby came from, what happened to Christi, where the ghost camera came from, and all sorts of other points. The producers butcher their old plots, with the plot of this movie. The worshipers need the blood of Hunter, and the blood of Leila to make one of the 7 fathers of Hell, real. So goodbye the premise of the first born son, and breeding witches to find the first born sons. It will not be missed.
The producers have to understand that throwing in jump scares, and creepy faces every 10 minutes, do not make for a scary film, and does not create suspense. All jump scares create, is a sense of not wanting to be scared. That is all the film is filled with. It does not make for a good film.
The visual effects were definitely low budget. Just because the "ghost" looks like a blob of oil, doesn't mean that it looks convincing. The movie looks like they added effects in right before it was launched to critics for review. Every special effect in the film was just poorly made, and felt rushed. Especially at the end, where Toby is in real form. First off, they thought that because he is in the night vision lens It was just a man, with bare feet. It was rather sad. They made Toby sound like he was going to be a Beezlebub lamb, with crazy inhuman features. Good lord we were sadly disappointed. That seems to happen a lot in this movie.
The only good part about the movie is that the acting is actually pretty decent. The actors were great for the terrible screen writing they had to deal with. Child acting is hard thing to deal with, and getting used to; it can make giving the sense of realism nearly impossible, but the child actors in this film were pretty decent. They definitely have a bright future ahead of them.
Please, for the love of God, do not go out and lose brain cells because you watched this film. It is literally in no way worth it. The writing was terrible, the effects were terrible, and pretty much everything about his movie was just terrible. Spare yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Poor acting, poor storyline, stupid ending. At what point does it become completely absurd to keep a huge, heavy 80's vintage video camera in your hand instead of saving your daughter? One particular dumb line of dialogue is when the token hot hippie mystical aunt says she has heard of spirit photography. Just like that, a stupid plot point is explained away. I know they had to tie it into the previous movies, but it was ham-handed at best. It was all about jump scares. Nothing else. The director didn't manage to create a scary atmosphere. Not even suspenseful. I took my 15 year old daughter and her friends to see this, and they laughed out loud at every "scare." Save your money.
When you look back on old horror series like 'Friday the 13th' or 'A
Nightmare on Elm Street' and you see 'Part 8: Jason Takes Manhatten' or
'Part 5: The Dream Child' you can't help but shudder at just how
ridiculous the sound of that sequel is. Sadly I fear when people look
back on the 'Paranormal Activity' series 'The Ghost Dimension' is going
to sound equally ridiculous and appear the same for anyone who bothers
to watch it. The film isn't good and does a real disservice to an
otherwise great series. A huge disappointment.
The filmmakers on this one seemed to have absolutely no understanding of what made the first four (or five including 'The Marked Ones') so effective. It was the fact that even for those of us that don't for the faintest second believe in ghosts or demons, it's still scary because everything was so simple. A person standing over their partner at night simply staring at them for hours on end is much more frightening of an image than actually seeing a completely unrealistic monster-like creature jump out of nowhere. This film did not belong in the series and if it is indeed the last 'Paranormal Activity' film to be made, it was a sad way to end things.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw "Paranormal Activity:The Ghost Dimension" starring Chris J.
Murray-Bad Roomies, Failing Better Now; Brit Shaw-Nashville_tv, The
Best Sex; Ivy George-in her first movie; Olivia Taylor Dudley-The
Vatican Tapes, Chernobyl Diaries and Dan Gill-The Wedding Ringer, Bad
This is the 5th and last, at least according to the producers, in the found footage horror franchise. Thank goodness! I mean, I like good horror movies but this is not one of them. This cheapy just uses loud noises for shock value. Or, people will hear strange noises and decide to go investigate them instead of getting the heck out of the house, and this is after they have already seen evidence of an evil presence messing with them. Meanwhile, back to the plot; Chris & Brit with their little girl, Ivy, move into Katie Featherstone's old house and No, Katie does not make an appearance in this one. The young version of Katie is shown in video tapes that are conveniently found in their new house along with a video camera that has a hidden feature on it, it can see spirits and in this case, it is Toby, the evil spirit from the earlier movies. FYI: this is the first time that they actually show what Toby looks like and I must say, it's not bad, just the rest of the movie is. Olivia and Dan come for a visit-I guess they needed more people for the spirit to mess with-and still, no one thinks about just getting up and leaving the house. It's rated "R" for language, violence and scary images and has a running time of 1 hour & 28 minutes. I would not buy this one on DVD. I would not rent it, either. If, for some ungodly reason, you wish to see it, I would wait until it reaches cable TV.
So, I saw an advanced preview of this film so there wasn't many ratings
up. After the preview I looked and it was rating around an average of 5
out of 10.....did I miss something? I loved this movie, not enough to
give it a 10, but enough.
I think the main thing to focus on this film is the 3D, if you see it in 2D you have made a terrible terrible mistake. The 3D is amazing!! It actually legitimately makes you jump as the objects hurtle towards you, I flinched. Then the 3D element isn't just carried out with tricks like that, but actually all throughout the movie, as you see specks of the demons black liquid stuff (best way I can describe that) floating around, and it looks like you can reach out and touch it and the camera they use to see the demon (you'll see if you watch the movie) looks good in 3D.
Sure, the actual storyline wasn't the absolute best, and the CGI was slightly less convincing....cause let's face it, when is CGI ever really truly convincing. But the acting was good, a believable family and an amazingly creepy little girl, and it was a genuinely thought out plot, easy to follow, carried on from the other films (so tied up loose ends), a little bit scary, a little bit nail biting. Overall a good horror movie.
Go see it, but....see it in 3D, or you will miss out on the intended experience!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Released in 2007, PA bought a welcome return to scary horror infecting
cinemas with a fear that the multiplexes hadn't seen for a while.
Building its fanbase on rumours it had terrified Steven Spielberg, and
made on a small budget, the film was a success and over the coming
years has become somewhat of a Halloween tradition. Over the years
there's no denying that the series has taken a downward spiral only
revitalising itself with 2013's spin off movie 'The Marked Ones'
changing the format to a more comedy led lead but still retaining the
same framework and storyline progressed through previous instalments. 5
sequels later and as Jason Blum (Producer of the series) has confirmed,
this will be the last chapter in the series and will bring all of the
answers to the questions the series has so far bought to its audience.
This time, a new family, the Fleeges, enter a home sold by PA original star Katie and events turn to the predictable as they come across a box of tapes and a strange camera featuring two girls, Katie and Kristi, in their childhood. It soon becomes apparent that the events unfolding on film have further connections with the new family and history begins to repeat itself as their daughter Leila (Ivy George) becomes friends with the infamous Toby.
While this is the finale to a franchise that has mixed opinion, there is so much to explore with the breadcrumbs left behind. The coven of witches in 3, the portals in "The Marked Ones", the ongoing saga with Katie, what does it all mean? Well, one thing is for sure, there are no answers here. In fact, the film leaves with even more questions:
- Where did the camera come from? Why did the coven want to summon Toby?
- Why is the demon called Toby and seeking human form?
- Why does the demon only need the blood of Hunter and Leila born on the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year?
- What ever happened to Katie?
- What is her exact role in all of this?
- What is the cause of the portals/dimensions and why do we not see more of this?
- What IS the "ghost dimension"?
- What does it all mean?
- Can I have an aspirin?
The feeling is that the guys behind the series had an idea and rather than spend the time and invest in a long term story, felt they had to wrap it up in a finale that is as bland as white sheet for a Halloween costume. The series could have benefited from further spin offs to create a bigger scale as now "The Marked Ones" feels more like a standalone film than part of the bigger picture.
What should have been closure to the franchise, ends as an unsatisfying blend of repetitive bangs and a mad dash attempt to create a cash-in to the 3D that is limited to 2 scenes. Throughout the film are a number of jump moments that focus more on waking you up than actually delivering a scare.
Toby's appearance is a disappointment to say this is a demon but merely masks the appearance of Baghuul from the Sinister series with a more human like posture than the horned faced demon the film leans towards.
Where the original entry and even some of the other films, there are standalone moments that are memorable but here lies a repetition of the worst moments of the franchise, taking away any plot that was promised in favour of a new gimmick (3D) that is well underused. Previous movies have kept Toby in the background and have decided that now is the time to let the world see this menace but what unfolds is merely disappointing. Gone is te suspense of what is/isn't there and instead the venom-like creature (fans of Spiderman would understand this reference) adds little in terms of fear. While some of the 3D moments wherein the fragments of the supernatural look impressive but never really add anything to the experience. The forceful demon that was seen dragging Katie in chapter one is missing here, and if Katie is now possessed, how can the demon himself appear if he's inside Katie?
Unlike previous instalments where the films unravelling occurs over a number of weeks, here the hauntings are all delivered by the 10th consecutive day and pretty much sums up the rushed and heartless film that is Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. The longer you think about the film the more disappointing it becomes. It's a huge let down for what could have been a solid conclusion to a mixed bag of films, instead doing more of the same and stitching a half thought out plot to close the series. You'd even question if the makers had even watched any of the previous instalments, as many will not be tuning into this one.
> Martyn Wakefield is a writer and editor for BloodGuts UK Horror and has contributed over 250 reviews on the horror genre
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
A couple, their friend and one of their brothers are staying in a large house when they discover a video camera. They start to experiment with this camera and soon realize that it's picking up ghostly images that they can't see without. Soon the young daughter is being visited by someone named Tobi and the adults begin seeing frightening images.
I guess I should give a breakdown on my option of the series leading up to this sixth entry, which the producers are saying is the very last one. I found the first film to be truly frightening and I rank it as one of the best horror movies from the past thirty years. The second film was a complete bore while the third one had an interesting and good story but no scares. The fourth and fifth films in the series proved that they had gone to the well one too many times and it was time to put a nail in the coffin. I walked into this sixth film with low expectations and the film started off having me fearing for another bad entry but then it turned out to be much better.
Is this a great film or a good one? Absolutely not but I thought there were some interesting developments with the plot and there were some really effective scenes that make this worth sitting through. Whereas the first film had the majority of its scare scenes work, this one here isn't nearly as lucky because I'd say only fifteen or twenty percent of the scares work but when they do work they're pretty powerful. The budget here was a lot higher, which allowed for some CGI scenes and I thought these effects were the worst of what we get here. There are moments where the camera is slowly moving around and you're expecting something to happen. The director does a very nice job at the build up and pay off.
The most effective scenes have things running or jumping towards the camera. There are some logical issues and there are moments that don't really connect to the events they're trying to tie to in the series but I liked some of the new stuff here. There's a twist involving the two men watching a tape of Katie and Kristi as a kid that works well. There's also a few other nice elements that help this film seem more than just a rehash of the first movie.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION might be the last and at least they go out with something better than the previous two films.
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