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Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is a lame duck finale

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 7:16 IST

It's over, people. It's finally over.

The Paranormal Activity franchise, one of this generation's longest-running horror narratives, has supposedly come to a close with the release of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - a final chapter that creator Jason Blum assured would answer all questions. Who is Toby? What's with the witch coven?

But the sixth film of the series, which begins with a great bang, comes to a whimpering end without answering anything.

The worst bit is that and that alone - the Paranormal series began ingenuously and was all about dread, the bogeyman, and things that go bump in the night.

This installment is all about cliche jump scares - thuds, whooshes and crunches - which is exactly why viewers will want this experience to be over with roughly eight seconds after it begins.

The film spends most of its running time dully retracing old steps, introducing yet another suburban family - father Ryan Fleege (Chris J Murray), mother Emily Fleege (Brit Shaw), and 7-year-old daughter Leila (Ivy George) - as they prepare for Christmas in their enormous new Santa Rosa house.

Joining them for a few weeks is Ryan's brother Mike (Dan Gill), a moustachioed hipster idiot, and Skylar (Olivia Taylor Dudley), a young blonde that the film does not even bother to introduce.

Obviously, daddy dearest is a videographer, much like all the Paranormal subjects so far. He happens upon the badass camcorder that can see into the astral plane (yes, the 3-D is diegetic). There are also several VHS tapes - home videos that chronicle the lives of two sisters, Kristi and Katie.

As inexplicable events begin to occur in the family's house (predictably), Ryan becomes obsessed with the camera, its connection to the mysterious home tapes, and a shadowy figure that can only be seen through the camcorder.

Where Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension truly goes down the toilet, however, is by actually creating that visual manifestation of Toby, the malevolent ghost roaming around the household.

Toby is depicted as a bunch of hideous floating black sludgy tendrils that like to crash-zoom into various cameras set up throughout the various rooms. Furthermore, that's essentially what you witness for 85 minutes.

The craziest thing about the series has always been the fact that the evil geniuses who make the films force us to watch HOURS of scenery do nothing. But in this one, there's just not enough to keep you watching the living room do nothing.

You'd also think that The Ghost Dimension would avoid another cliffhanger ending, but director Gregory Plotkin's closing frame could be the most open-ended of them all.

What's most baffling of all is that Katie, the one constant reoccurring character in every movie of the franchise, isn't here at all, aside from the child variation of her that is explored within the homemade videotapes.

All you're left with is nothing more than a lame-duck finale that does nothing but slight fans with each predictable jump scare. Thanks, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.

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A still from the franchise.

First published: 30 October 2015, 6:48 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.