Advertisement

Film review: Let's bring on the horror

October 19, 2012|By Andy Klein
  • Ethan Hawke stars in "Sinister." 2011 Summit Entertainment
Ethan Hawke stars in "Sinister." 2011 Summit…

Halloween understandably spurs the release of new horror films every year, and 2012 is no exception. Two weeks ago, we were treated to the mercifully brief run of "V/H/S," an anthology of interchangeable stories organized around "found footage" that would have been better left unfound. Last week was "Sinister," which was a step up, but basically recycled a bunch of creaky plot ideas so overused that they now qualify as conventions: family arrives at new house, kids start acting spooky, objects start moving on their own, and each casual closing of a door triggers a noise so loud that the characters — and, of course, the audience — are physiologically forced to jump.

“Paranormal Activity 4” manages to trump both movies by putting the family/kids/objects/blam elements into a “found footage” format, a device that the first “Paranormal Activity” revived so effectively five years ago. Because — spoiler alert — everyone dies at the end of the first film, the economically mandated sequels have mostly been filling in the back story, while trying to set up enough pre-story to allow for “Paranormal Activity 5,” “6,” “7.” Katie Featherston is the only cast member to appear in all four so far: one of the blessings of the form, from the actors' point of view, is that death is not quite as final as it is in other genres — or, for that matter, in life.

Advertisement

This time around, a family must temporarily look after Robbie (Brady Allen), the spooky kid from across the street, while his mother is in the hospital. Fortuitously, their son Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp) is the same age — 6-ish? — and quickly bonds with Robbie and the “imaginary” companion he's brought with him. When the weirdness starts, big sister Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her wiseacre boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) secretly network all the computers in the house into a 24-hour webcam peep-and-keep system.

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles
|
|
|