Amph Paranormal Activity (original, sequels & spin-offs)

Discussion in 'Community' started by Point Given, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    Saw had a complicated mythology. PA started off with bare bones backstory and has slowly been building one (though not one as tightly woven as Saw's was, since it deals with far fewer characters), but I think they made things a bit convoluted this time around without explaining enough.

    Show Spoiler
    (such as which child is really Hunter or if Hunter is just a common possessing spirit, and if so, where'd the other kid come from and how'd Katie lose him? If Toby is possessing Katie, how could he be in the house also?)


    Sequels do tend to go down in quality (Saw 5 was the low point for that franchise, though I felt 6 recovered nicely and 7 went a bit sideways). I think in the case of PA4, they just didn't innovate enough this time around and played it safe. There was nothing as innovative or world-building in 4 as the oscillating fan and coven backstory in 3.

    They need to shake things up a bit for the next film and either find a new direction to take events or start building towards a conclusion. I think the obvious choice would be to focus a film on the person (or persons) actually reviewing the found footage from these families and connecting the dots- perhaps even using what they've learned from these videos to combat/confront the witches/demons (ie: observation attracts/empowers Toby, IR lights can detect Toby, physical objects like doors can obstruct Toby- so it is possible to contain Toby, and crosses seem to repel or cause those he possesses pain- so it's possible to harm Toby). Take a sort of Dream Warriors approach so far as turning the tables go, and make it feel like the experiences of the prior films were about something more than just audience scares.
    Last edited by The2ndQuest, Oct 22, 2012
    Barbecue17 likes this.
  2. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
  3. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    Now it seems they'll be releasing the Latin spin-off (teased in 4's stinger) in January 2014 instead. That has been given a title now as well: "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones". Paranormal Activity 5 will then hit afterwards in October 2014.
  4. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    Caught The Marked Ones last night and, overall, it was better than I had expected (I had lowered expectations in, of course). Though still found footage in style, this one is much more of a traditional horror film than the other PA films- it breaks format with its kin and is far more overt in supernatural acts.

    Oddly enough as a result it's not as scary, though still an improvement over the lackluster PA4.

    Much more surprising is the fact that this movie actually gives us a lot of answers about what's been happening in these films (while still raising new questions, of course). I did not expect that to happen in the "Latino spin-off" as opposed to the core numbered films- a welcome surprise, for sure, as it gives it stronger ties to the other films and not just a side experiment.

    Will be interesting to see if PA5 picks up any threads from here.
    Barbecue17 likes this.
  5. Barbecue17 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2013
    star 2
    OK, so you mentioned that Toby was explained in the Marked Ones in the other thread? I think I might have missed that. I got that the witches were using the possessed boys once they became 18 in order to create an army and that the coven has the opportunity to cross time and space through the door.

    I like your comments about a future film entering "The Dream Warriors" territory. I would love to see some of the surviving characters take on this evil at some point.
    Last edited by Barbecue17, Jan 7, 2014
  6. I Are The Internets Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 8
    I would like a conclusion to this series goddammit. 3 was relentlessly terrifying, but at the end, I was like "oh great we're going to get 8 more of these and a 3D reboot".
  7. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    This is the first time we've heard about them making an army of males/Marked Ones/demons, though.

    As for Toby's origin, I could be wrong but I believe it's being suggested here that Jesse (or another Marked One like him) was Toby, traveling from 2012 through the gateway to the unholy places of the prior films, rendered invisible by the process- as Hector seemingly was here.

    Additionally, the director & producer have revealed that there is an end game for this series:

    Now, 'Marked Ones' director Christopher Landon tells Slashfilm that he, director/producer Oren Peli, producer Jason Blum and various others involved in the franchise have settled on an "ultimate ending" for the series when that happens. The catch? It's a few movies away.
    Landon calls 'Marked Ones' part of a bigger piece of the mythology and that it's trying to "tee up" things that are coming, especially in the fifth film. He then went on to say:
    "We've always been looking ahead. I'll say this much. There is a very specific end goal and I'm hoping we have enough time in the franchise to get there.
    We have a really big idea that's at the finish line but we need time to get there. So we're hoping the fans keep coming back and allow us to get them there."
    Landon went on to say hints of that ultimate ending are laid down in the first film, but it wasn't until they started making the second that the "crazy ideas" began to be bandied about. However in the fourth film they got a bit lost so 'Marked' tries to get things back on track.
    Last edited by The2ndQuest, Jan 7, 2014
  8. Jabba-wocky Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Lol. I like the bizarre mix of naturalism and lunacy.

    "You thought it was a demon? You silly superstitious person. It was actually an invisible time-traveler. . .possessed by a demon."
  9. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    It is a much more out-there twist on things than one would have anticipated, ha. On the upside, PA4 had some chronology issues with the demon, so the whole time travel thing opens a potential loophole in addressing those concerns.
    Last edited by The2ndQuest, Jan 7, 2014
  10. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    So, after a release delay that probably killed general interest in the franchise, PA:TGD came out last weekend. I didn't catch it then because the theater count has been greatly reduced this time around- they're certainly no longer the events they were for PA2-4 (I blame PA4, personally). Paramount trying a new accelerated profit sharing for VOD with theaters also contributed to the lower count.

    Regardless, the result was none of the 3 local theaters played it so I had to wait for this weekend to make the trip out to the larger theater about 30+ min away that was this evening.

    Review:

    Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension- So this is technically PA5 even though it's the sixth film released (The Marked Ones was considered a spinoff even though it tied heavily into the mythology).

    The hook here is that one of the cameras is special and can actually see the spiritual activity (and said camera footage is presented in 3D). The 3D effect is quite good, both in the subtle (the floating bits of energy or miasma combined with the layers of video distortion and shifting focus) and not so subtle (given that the franchise's key moments are generally things/people being flung at the camera, this is no surprise).

    Actually seeing the energy/Toby leaves me mixed- they use it effectively in a couple places and I can see why they'd try to up things by actually showing stuff but at the same time the reason this series has been effective (not for everyone but for those who get into it) has been because we're forced to let our imaginations fill in the unseen horrors based on what is suggested and not shown. So this kinda runs counter to that. Plus, once you show Toby you can't really go back.

    Which be fine if this was the last movie (as the ads have suggested) but I didn't leave feeling like this was a conclusion-just another build towards a climax that adds new unexplained elements in as obvious sequel seeds.

    In fact, for a "final" movie it probably answers less than The Marked Ones did (granted, TMO answered a surprising amount of questions) even though it dots a few i's and crosses a few t's from TMO.

    Pacing-wise, this one is less of a slow burn than previous films and gets into things pretty quickly so it can deliver it's visualized activity sooner. For better or for worse (the slow builds to the "Night #" title cards always used to result in that air sucking noise as audiences around me would tense up to steel themselves).

    Overall, it's not the disappointment PA4 was but isn't the height of the franchise like PA3 or the more satisfying story like TMO was.


    /review

    As far as the mythology goes- some of the TMO stuff isn't directly followed up here beyond the portals and time travel. But it does establish the end goal of all this (at least I think it establishes it here- I never watch these a second time after theatrical viewing so my memory on some details is hazy).

    Show Spoiler
    Basically Katie and her sister were trained as kids in their house by the grandma witch and a newly-introduced male cult leader to be seers into the future so, I think, they know when to open the portals and what children to target.

    The boy from PA4 and the girl in this one are the targets and the use of their blood will allow Toby (who is a singular demon of 7- it seems TMO details weren't what I thought them to be- though the premier points out that demons usually don't use their real names and even briefly points out an unknown name on the girl's chalkboard but I didn't catch it)) to take on human form. They're selected because of their birthdays (June 6th, 2005- the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year; and, yes, you could hear idiots in the theater counting out that last part).

    Not clear why the time travel to 1992 was needed beyond bringing everyone to the same point in time. But maybe they needed Katie and her sister as kids too?

    Either way, the cult leader isn't explained and *****ENDING SPOILER******* Toby attains his human body by the end.
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Would you be able to just write out like a straight narrative or chronology of this series? I've only seen a couple of them and things like time travel and stuff like that being in the franchise now just make my head spin.
  12. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    I'll give it a shot, but it'll have to be tomorrow. I can tell you, time travel aside, this one is set in Dec 2013, so roughly a year or less after TMO, which was 2012.