It gives me no pleasure whatsoever when I say that the latest instalment in the Paranormal Activity franchise, entitled The Ghost Dimension, isn’t just one of the worst films I’ve seen this year, but perhaps one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.
Seeing the first Paranormal Activity in a screen full of people, still remains one of my most memorable cinematic experiences to date. The first sequel was still enjoyable, and there was even stuff to like in the third film.
However, the past couple of films have felt tired, predictable and too familiar to the point where the franchise has started to merge into one big, mythology-heavy mess; losing its haunted house fun in the process.
Whilst the story in Ghost Dimenson treads familiar ground – an all American family move into a new house to discover ghostly goin-ons – 3D is used heavily, in a last-ditch effort to give the series ‘new life’.
When the father of the house discovers a box with an old looking camera and VHS tapes, he discovers that the camera can pick up on apparitions from another plain.
Every time he uses the camera, black shadows and all manner of objects are thrown at us through the screen; a somewhat effective tool that, along with the loud bangs and bumps, will undoubtedly make you jump.
That doesn’t mean Ghost Dimension is scary though. If anything, by finally showing us the activity – something the film has been heavily marketed around – it loses what made the original so effective.
The first Paranormal Activity was so scary because it played with the idea of the unknown, drawing from our fear of what we can’t physically see. With practical effects and a self-contained narrative, its indie-stylings and simplicity still hold up today.
By using the 3D gimmick, you can feel just how desperate the films have become, and the scares throughout the film are cheap. But what’s worse is that so much effort has quite clearly been put into the effects, that the story seems to have been all but forgotten about.
Going into this, I’d hoped that the overly convoluted story would surely be reaching an end by now. I mean after six films about ghosts, surely there can’t be much more in terms of plot, right?
Wrong. Not only does Ghost Dimension throw new characters into the already bulky mix, it has no real conclusion and instead opts for yet another pessimistic and miserable ending, that one has come to expect from the series.
I found the ending here particularly nasty, uncalled for and again, cheap. Words cannot fully describe how much disdain I have for the film anyway, but its ending just pushed me over the edge into proper film-fury.
As well as having a real nasty streak, Ghost Dimension is about as stupid as they come, with plot holes galore. For example, you catch physical evidence on film of what’s quite clearly a humanoid ghost. You show it to your brother and your wife, but they still don’t believe the house is haunted. Really?
You fear that your daughter might be the target of a demonic possession and fear for her life, yet you decide to just leave her on her own in her bedroom – with demonic symbols on the wall by the way – and go for a snooze. REALLY?!!
How is it that these people have no problems operating ghost-cameras but fail to show any sign of intelligence on a basic, human level. I hated the characters in this film, so, so, so much. From the brothers who make jokes about how this scary ghost called Toby could be a stripper – because Toby would be a good stripper name apparently. Yeah, I don’t get it either – to the most steroeotypical priest in film, I hated pretty much every character in the film – the mother and daughter aside.
Kudos go to casting on the basis of the young girl at the centre of the film, who is quite genuinely creepy, but otherwise all those involved in Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension should be ashamed of themselves.
Ashamed for the frankly unnecessary and horrible use of violence – the most violent sequence happens to a woman; ashamed for agreeing to be in this piece of shit and, perhaps above all else, ashamed for turning a decent movie into a lazy and dull series, that serves no other purpose than to steal our money.
Worst film of 2015? This could quite possibly be it…
Image credit to http://www.comingsoon.net