Review: Paranormal Activity Series

I saw the Ghost Dimension over the weekend and it was…ok at best.  The first three films were pretty cool and with the Marked Ones, it was a nice change.  But the Ghost Dimension tries to wrap up the story, bring it around full circle and to me, it failed.

Paranormal Activity brought a new look into the world of found footage horror.  The Blair Witch Project showed us what we could see with the found footage genre, but there was something that felt real about the first Paranormal Activity.  Certain moments in the film that, the actors were all unknown and any special effects were done pretty well for a film on a 15,000 dollar budget.

For those who do not know, the first movie centers around a girl named Katie and her boyfriend Micah, that is Mee-ka.  Strange events unfold throughout the movie and like I said, there are some cool events that happen, minimal effects as it it shown through a the camera lense, filmed by Micah.  It is worth the watch for sure, but Paranormal Activity 2, maybe, watch first, actually second.  The timeline is a little messy and I think some kind of “super-cut” would be cool, shown in chronological order.

The second film is set before the first and follows Katie’s, sister’s family, more shown through security camera’s.  Kristy, Katie’s sister just had a baby boy, Hunter.  The spirit from the first is trying to get to Hunter and this makes the movie that much more creepy.  Eventually we see Katie and Micah and the film ends where the first begins and then some.  But having the two coupled together, it works.

The third could act as a prequel or even the first movie.  It takes place when Katie and Kristy are little children in 1988.  It follows their mother’s boyfriend, Dennis, who looks a lot like Micah.  Dennis films weddings and cuts them together, he eventually uses the camera when all of the strange events happen.  This movie gives us more about the entity or spirit, Toby.  Toby apparently is the name of the demon, spirit that has been haunting the girls since they were young, stalking them.  Turns out, spoiler, their grandmother is a witch and a part of a coven, the end is great.

When the fourth film comes out, it feels like enough is enough.  But it is a new family and a little bit different feel to the movie.  Eventually the find a way to connect it to the other three movies and it really just adds to the story and the ending is pretty good.

The fifth movie, the Marked Ones, was a big time departure from the series, in a good way.  Again, it was nice to see a different set of people in this one and a different place.  But we kind of get an idea of what i to come for the young boys who are either after Toby or I guess get marked.  There are some really cool moments in the Marked Ones that make it stand out from the rest of the series.

Paranormal Activity was a step back, but this was to wrap up the entire series, which I feel it was a poor attempt.  There are some cool effects with this special camera that is found and the little girl was great.  But again, there were moments that it was just too damned coincidental, finding the 80s camera and the tapes with young Kristy and Katie.  Also, how could they not remember any of this stuff.  I was also disappointed with the actual “Ghost Dimension”.  I am not sure if we were supposed to see this “dimension” or what?  There was a portal that lead to the past, or so it looked.  I don’t know.  Cool camera effects, annoying brother, sad ending to the series.

I also noticed something in watching the second movie again, Kristy finds a picture of a young Katie.  She says something about loosing all of their pictures in the fire.  In the “Ghost Dimension” and part 3, it is contradicted.  They fled the house before the fire.  The girls lived with their grandmother when their house caught fire, which is 3 years after the events of 3.

My overall feelings for this series are not bad.  I loved the first three and thought each was better than the last.  The fourth movie along with the Ghost Dimension are the weakest.

So, in ranking the movies, I loved part 3 the most.  2 had some great elements, like the German Sheppard with the baby and a great ending.  The first set it off and was very cool, the Marked Ones, part 4 and then the Ghost Dimension was the worst, but not terrible.  I really loved Katie Featherstone and how she tied, nearly every movie together.  She is a highlight of the series.  I would love to see more of her in the horror genre.  It depends, these films are not for everyone.  Now it is time to have a marathon since they are all available on DVD and Blu Ray.

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)