Paranormal Activity 4 (15/R, 87 mins)
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Films like Paranormal Activity 4 are a true gift to moviegoers. Rarely do you get the opportunity to spend 90 minutes in a cinema entirely alone with your thoughts, with absolutely nothing on screen to distract you. It’s a great chance to make a start on that novel perhaps, or plan for your retirement. It’s only been three years since the first Paranormal Activity arrived as a breath of fresh air for horror fans, and became a surprise smash. With their tiny production costs and insatiable fanbase they can be churned out indefinitely, but three films down the line it’s clear the makers are all out of ideas. With the need to introduce ever more convoluted backstory into the timeline, this one kicks off in 2006 with the kidnap of a baby seen in one of the earlier movies. We then jump to 2011 and a new family, and predominantly the teenage daughter, as they start to experience strange goings on after they take in the weird young boy from across the street while his mother is in hospital. The now thoroughly redundant found footage conceit necessitates someone filming all aspects of the family’s daily life, and there’s simply no justification for some of the things shown here being filmed. It also begs the question, if this is all supposed to be home footage, why is it whenever something happens on screen it’s accompanied by a loud bang on the soundtrack? It’s all incredibly stupid and desperately tedious, with literally nothing happening for most of the running time, interspersed with nonsensical poltergeist interaction. Take along your tax forms to keep you entertained.