Review: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

This week I caught up on all of the previous Paranormal Activity movies I had previously missed.  When I reviewed the last film titled The Marked Ones, I had only seen the very first film of the series.  The Ghost Dimension is the sixth and supposedly final installment of the found-footage horror series that has its share of genuinely scary moments, but is held back by remaining way too faithful to its redundant format.  With the exception of the last movie which actually has a wider variety of settings, all of the PA movies take place in a house where a family is tormented by supernatural forces and all of the footage is captured on surveillance cameras.

Each of the films are tied together by a nefarious plot by a coven of witches who are working on giving flesh to a demon known to his victims and worshipers as Toby.  This latest installment boasts a big climactic ending to the series.  However, this movie is no more climactic than any of the other films.  Everything plays out as expected and this series that started out promisingly has come to a dull, uneventful end.

This film revolves around the Fleeges household where patriarch Ryan (Chris J. Ryan) discovers an old camcorder and box of VHS tapes which belonged to the previous owners of the house.  It turns out that camcorder and tapes once belonged to the Strider family whose daughters Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) have been tormented by Toby for much of their lives.  Through this “special” camcorder, Ryan reveals that a supernatural being is haunting his own home and may be tormenting his daughter Leila (Ivy George).  By reviewing the tapes, Ryan comes to the realization that the haunting of his home may be connected to the haunting and subsequent tragedy that destroyed the Strider family in 1988.

Written by Jason Pagan, Andrew Deutschman, Adam Robitel, Gavin Heffernan, Gavin Aufill and directed by Gregory Plotkin, the only moderately thrilling conclusion to the PA series offers more of the same bumps/grinds by an evil spirit over various nights, but does allow the audience to see Toby take more visible shapes.  Plotkin and his technical crew use the 3D format effectively, but does get a little cheesy when it’s all too obvious that they are “thowing” images at the audience.  Much like the other films, this installment adds a little more to the overall story, but ends in a somewhat unsatisfying way.  I’m guessing that if this movie makes enough money, the producers will consider adding another chapter to the franchise.

Honestly though, the story at large probably could have been told in less installments had the filmmakers deviated somewhat from the strict mold to which these movies adhere.  The scant plot involving Toby and his followers have been stretched over too many films and covered so little ground. The producers couldn’t even give this series an exciting conclusion, but one that is nearly identical to all of the other films!

What started as a novel and fun horror series has pretty much worn out its welcome by now and I couldn’t care less if they decide to make another installment.  I enjoyed the first three movies and would have been fine had they ended it there.  However, the powers that be have decided to milk this franchise to the last drop.  Now there’s not much left in the well.

To be fair, this movie has its entertaining moments and is effective in delivering some frights and scares. The cast members perform well.  The movie itself is just another redundant installment in a movie franchise that has repeated itself a little too often. At least with The Marked Ones, the story embarks into slightly different areas.  This one plays out just like the others.

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