We all know horror has been truly grabbed by the horns, when a young child plays a single, tuneless note on a recorder for a solid minute. Any demons present are truly welcome to practice their fuckery with this one. I’m done with traditional conventions.
It’s the horror franchise that just keeps giving to an audience who can’t even remember what number sequel it’s on. The latest instalment subverts that basic possessive demon and gives rise to the ‘demon stalker’. Ah, demon stalker? I hear you ask. I don’t really know either. This demon is called Toby. To be fair, we probably all know a demon called Toby.
It all started in the first film, which was more or less a harmless little haunt leading to a crazy girlfriend and dead boyfriend. Now the screen writers are evidently enjoying putting increasing allusions to God, the occult, witch cults, and having a bit of a general biblical flirt with their found footage bonanza. They don’t really explain much of it, and throughout the films the links are vague and forced into convenience, but it’s the thought that counts. I suppose they want to use a religious basis to suggest it could all actually happen. Fortunately it won’t be happening to me, as my parents aren’t camera obsessed narcissists.
The film thrives on two things: useless parenting, and pointless characters. Upon developing her relationship with Toby, daughter Leila (Ivy George) becomes withdrawn and warns that he wants to ‘take’ her. And yet despite finding her saying bloody Mary backwards, with bloody hands in the bathroom at midnight, her parents conclude she’s probably just going through a stage. That occult stage we all go through in our early years. When they cotton on that something isn’t right, the mother, Emily (Brit Shaw) watches over Leila in bed till a mighty 11.20pm before her husband, Ryan (Chris Murray) tells her to join him in getting some rest. Yeah, fuck the kid, you both have no apparent job to get up for in the morning.
The film also features the father’s goofy brother (Dan Gill) whose largest area of character development concerns his moustache, which honestly, is terrifying. And bushy. There’s some other girl (Olivia Taylor Dudley) who is understandably visiting the suburban house for a ‘yoga retreat’ and she talks a bit about feng shui and then barfs blood at the end. You think they might get together. Plot twist: they don’t. They actually both die.
The reality of the film is the same as any other Paranormal Activity. You get a few jumps here and there, the demon enjoys causing haywire in a pool scene and a low drum roll accompanies every anticipated scary moment to emphasis quietness. Ironic. But you get what you expect, and too little in this world are our expectations met so I guess we should be thankful. So thank you Paranormal Activity for being the shit we expected you to be.