Director Gregory Plotkin’s fifth film of the popular horror series Paranormal Activity tells the story of a demonic witch cult but does live up to the cult following the series has received.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension stars Chris J. Murry, who plays the role of husband and father Ryan Fleege, Brit Shaw, who plays his wife Emily, and the couple’s seven-year-old daughter Leila, played by Ivy George. The film opens with a portrait of the Fleege’s comfortable life Santa Rosa, CA: a beautiful wife, a beautiful new house, and an adorable, happy-go-lucky daughter. After discovering a mysterious vintage camcorder in a box left behind by the previous owners, Ryan and his wife catch a number of unexplainable ectoplasmic and ghoulish figures on film and eventually realize that the force(s) haunting them are after their daughter. Unbeknownst to the Fleeges, their daughter Leila was chosen years before she was born to be a member of a demonic witch cult; Ryan and Brit are subsequently cast into a battle against the the dark forces in an effort to save Leila from being initiated into the cult.
The graphics in the film, a black, amorphous ectoplasm, dark, shadowy ghouls, and eventually a giant black creature that more closely resembled a human form, were lacking in technical quality (ie, they looked fake) and were not very original. The plot of the film itself seemed trite and the use of the elements of horror within the plot were rather obvious. And while the crude humor throughout the film got laughs from the audience (including myself), ultimately, the sex and weed jokes only further contributed to the film’s cliched, immature nature.
Heather Brown ‘14 was disappointed with the film: “I think most of the horror elements of the film were based in jump-scares and tricks, but I was still trembling the whole time because demonic children freak me out. The culmination of the buildup of the elements of horror fell flat and felt anticlimactic; it was predictable and the poor graphics detracted from the reality of the fear. I wasn’t impressed overall but the humor was on point.”