By Bill Arceneaux
There’s something inherently wrong with adding bells and whistles to a story that became famous for its lack thereof. Paranormal Activity became a hit based off of its word of mouth marketing campaign, giving people expectations and anticipation for something they weren’t aware of previously. The movie delivered, in one way or another, by utilizing all of its SMALL budget and limited equipment. From there…reverse evolution set it. Everything devolved. And it’s the old “bigger is better” idea that’s to blame. In Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension – the supposed finale to this franchise – we get the culmination of all the added effects and lore. What was scary for presenting unknown and unseen forces now reveals all. Sort of.
Number six in the series, The Ghost Dimension is essentially the same story as all the others (except maybe for The Marked Ones, the Leprechaun in the Hood point), where a young family moves into a new home, experiences some spooks, tapes everything, learns some information, and all goes downhill. The only difference is the addition of a VHS camera that can “see” spirits. By spirits, I mean those squiggly lines you get when squinting a bit too hard. They float around, unformed at first, like specks of dust in the air. My viewing was in 2D, but I suspect 3D would’ve been just as lame.
A bunch of old tapes are discovered, unraveling most of the backstory and mythology of the series involving a cult and the birth of a demon. The child in the family starts speaking with the apparition made of squiggly goop, and a priest comes to exterminate it. Eventually, blah blah blah, then blah.
The Ghost Dimension is an epic slog of silliness, where every character automatically believes in anything. The level of gullibility on display is off the charts. Of course, in the context of the story, it’s all real, but skepticism is only common. And expected. And human. The reveals are poor, the effects are boring, and the show-offy attitude is sad and pathetic.
If I remember correctly, the studio behind the series planned on financing original projects at smaller budgets, in hopes of making another hit. Instead, they just milked this one dry. There’s something inherently wrong with that.
For Halloween, watch a classic. Watch The Exorcist. Watch The Silence of the Lambs. Don’t watch money burn on a screen – it’s depressing.
1 / 5 *s