Monday, October 26, 2015

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Busby's Review)

I haven't written on this blog for quite a while now and I've noticed that I have written damn near all my reviews for this franchise on my personal blog for the past 5 years (with the exception of the first one).  So it's only right that I have this review for the final installment on here.  Now first things first, like I've said numerous times, the first Paranormal Activity is one of the greatest horror movies of all time.  It was a simple story, had a simple concept, and it was simply scary.  It simply scared the hell out of me and it had simply terrifying moments in it that I'll remember for the rest of my life.  The first film was just plainly simple and it worked.

Then after it made a shit load of money, Hollywood had to be Hollywood, and they had milk it for every penny it was worth.  That's how the sequels were born and that's how things became complicated.  Now I've seen ever single one of these films and I have enjoyed them for what that are.  At the same time I have gotten highly intrigued of the story as a whole.  The cliffhanger endings were just enough for me to comeback just to see what happens next.  Welp, we have finally arrived.  After 4 installments, 1 spin off, 1 couple, 4 families, a few witches, and 1 consistent demon.  The franchise known as Paranormal Activity has finally come to its conclusion.

Given that this is the last movie, the producers promised the fans that we are finally going to get ALL our questions answered.  Not only are we finally going to actually SEE the demonic presence that has been tormenting everybody for the past 5 movies.  All the dots will be connected and we are finally going to get some closure from this terrifying tale.

Or so we thought...

The "final" chapter of this found footage saga is entitled The Ghost Dimension.  In this story we follow Ryan Fleege (Chris J. Murray), his wife Emily (Brit Shaw), and their 6-year old daughter Leila (Ivy George) as they are prepare for the holidays.  While Ryan and his brother Mike (Dan Gill) are putting up Christmas decorations, they stubble across a box that is filled with VHS tapes that are dated back to the late 80's and early 90's along has a unique video camera. While toying with the camera, Ryan discovers that it has special functions that lets him see things beyond the human eye. Along with that, he discovers that the video tapes contains footage of a young Katie and Kristie from the 3rd movie along with new footage of the sisters practicing supernatural abilities with their grandmother and a mysterious man.

Meanwhile Leila has made a new imaginary friend.  Wanna guess who it is?  I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with Obie!

Ryan then starts to document everything that goes around in his house with the special camera and discovers that a dark presence is in their house and communicating with his daughter. Along with that Leila begins to become very distant with her family and becomes very close with her "special friend."  She than reveals that her "friend" Toby wants to take her away from this world.  If you've followed the last 5 movies you should already know what happens next.

If this was a stand alone Paranormal Activity movie I would have left feeling satisfied.  The scares were brought to new heights with the 3D element and the tension that the movies were notorious for are still there to make you uncomfortable.  It was a perfect cast and all the actors did a great job to make you care about them in some way shape or form.  But other then that, that's where it stops.

Now let me remind you, producer Jason Blum PROMISED the fans that we were FINALLY going to get answers about the overall story of this franchise.  He said that NO stones were going to be left unturned and we were finally going to get closure.  Well...we DID get SOME answers to some major questions.  However there were still quite a few questions left unanswered and given that this was the "last" movie.  It left a pretty bitter taste in my mouth.

For starters, Katie Featherson, the actress that has been in every PA movie up to his point and is the key character that keeps the whole story together, is NOT in this movie.   She is mentioned, and her younger self makes appearances, but the adult version does not make a physical appearance in this film.  It's the most mind blowing thing about this whole film because if this is indeed "the end." Why isn't the original actress from the first movie NOT play a key role in this film?

Not only that, they still left some major plot holes unfilled. Like how come Katie and Kristi got amnesia about everything that happened to them as kids when they got older?  The movie alludes that they were being "brainwashed" but never fully explained "how."  And another thing, whatever happened to Hunter's older sister Ali (PA2)? She made a minor appearance in Marked Ones, but to not have her play a key role in this film is disappointing.  And speaking of Marked Ones, they didn't even bother to mention any of the events that happened in that movie either.  I know it was just meant as a "spin off," but they could have made a slight mention to it.

Another thing that didn't sit well with me is finally seeing Toby.  What made the Paranormal Activity movies so scary was fearing the unseen.  Using your imagination to figure out what was going on and off the camera made the movie 10X more scarier.  In this movie we finally get to see the demon and it's...ehh.  It's no different then any other demonic ghost we've seen in countless other scary movies and it makes me wish they left that aspect of the movie alone and kept it unseen.

Which then leads me to the ending.  Again like i stated before, you would THINK that this ending would bring some type of closure for it's core fans.  Unfortunately it's nothing more then another cliffhanger ending that might as well had the text: Toby Continued (Get it? To Be Continued lol).  It's a cliffhanger ending for a sequel that will never come and that's a damn shame.

It's a damn shame this series had to end this way.  I understand that the studio was getting tired of making the movies and ever since the 4th one the numbers have gradually declined at the box office.  But to have the creators market this movie as the "last one" and give their fans such a half ass effort leaves me disappointed.

In a way I should have seen this coming, you can tell that after the 4th movie they wrote themselves into a wall.  The Marked Ones was a good movie but it made things more complicated and it forced the creators to make up more bullshit with no intention to have a proper situation.

The sequels were never meant to happen.  Maybe one day another studio will come along and bring the films back one more time to give it it's proper ending.  I could seriously go on and on about the plot holes and what I did and didn't like about this franchise, but at the end of the's just a fucking movie.  It wasn't meant to be this complicated.  It was just meant to scare the living shit out of you.  Nothing more..nothing less.  It was just simple..

Farewell Toby...hope you will haunt another cinema again some day.

Busby's Review: 2.5/5

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