The chills are centered at the end of “Paranormal Activity 4.” What makes them even more creepy is the “cute factor” of little kids that permeates most of the movie.
Although the franchise may be running out of steam, this segment is more than mediocre, and is sure to keep its fans entertained until the inevitable fifth installment comes along next Halloween.
Once again, this installment is told using “footage” from webcams and laptops. Alex (Kathryn Newton, “Bad Teacher”), 15, thinks something weird is going on in her house. When she sets out to prove to her boyfriend that she’s not imagining strange things, they rig up laptops throughout her home so they can review what’s happening in the wee hours of the morning and, sometimes, during the day.
Alex’s boyfriend (Matt Shively, television’s “True Jackson VP”) adds a comic touch as the techie boyfriend who simply wants to be with, or talk with, Alex via Skype and in person. He listens eagerly as Alex tells him about the creepy little kid who has moved into the neighborhood, and then he sees Robbie (Ben Allen) for himself when he and Alex discover him in a backyard playhouse.
Robbie ends up as a guest for a few days in the home of Alex’s family, and he makes friends with Alex’s little brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp). The two play together and get into mischief together. All the while, Alex thinks there is something odd about Robbie.
There’s another neighbor you’ll recognize, too: Katie (Katie Featherston), who adds a sinister presence right from her first appearance. This also makes the movie a direct sequel to the original film.
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Robbie (Brady Allen) is a great little actor. He brings with him an unusual bevy of belongings, including a fork that purportedly “tells the future” (I wanted to see more of this … maybe in part five). Robbie is every bit as odd as Alex suspects he is, talking to an unseen presence and wandering through the house late a night. Alex tries to bring this to the attention of her preoccupied parents, but they don’t seem to want to listen to her.
Some disturbing moments occur before the really ghastly stuff unfolds toward the end — your patience will pay off if you wait long enough. And if you want to wait through the credits, there’s an extra scene at the very end that might indicate the next direction this franchise will take.