Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Movie Connections:
Paranormal Activity
> Paranormal Activity (2007)
> Paranormal Calamity (2010)
> Abnormal Activity (2010)
> Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
> Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night (2010)
> Subnormal Activity (2010)
> Abnormal Activity 3 (2011)
> Paranormal Parody (2011)
> Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
> Abnormal Activity IIII (2012)
> Paranormal Activity: A Hardcore... (2012)
> Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
> Paranormal Movie (2013)
> Paranormal Whacktivity (2013)
> Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
> ...Show All Connections?
Genres / Traits:
Haunted House Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror, 3-D, Cinéma Vérité
Gregory Plotkin Gregory Plotkin
Chris J. Murray Chris J. Murray
Brit Shaw Brit Shaw
Ivy George Ivy George
Dan Gill Dan Gill
Olivia Taylor Dudley Olivia Taylor Dudley

4.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: July 23, 2016
With Paranormal Activity wrapping things up with The Ghost Dimension, I was hoping they'd be able to tie up a lot of the loose ends the series had left hanging. Between jumping around timelines, switching genres from ghosts to witches, and pumping out a barely-related spin-off, there were a lot of unanswered questions and this was a fine opportunity to clear all that up.

The Fleege family (Ryan, Emily and their daughter Leila) are looking forward to celebrating their first Christmas in their new house. After suffering a devastating break-up, Ryan's slacker brother Mike is joining them for the holiday, as well as Emily's friend, Skylar. While helping them decorate, Mike stumbles across a box with a strange video camera and a box of home videos from the late eighties/early nineties. Goofing around with it later, Ryan discovers that it's picking up a strange, shadowy anomaly in his living room. Also, the box of tapes is a collection of family videos from 1988 (the events of Paranormal Activity 3) and ritualistic training videos from 1992, where a man is teaching Katie and Kristie how to harness Toby's powers. The name rings with Ryan who recognizes it as the name of his daughter's new imaginary friend. Fearing the worst, he sets up a series of cameras around the house, including that strange camera in his daughter's room.

While the set-up is identical to the rest of the movies, being able to see Toby completely changes the tone of the movie. The first few weren't scary when you were watching them. Hell, they were almost boring. However, if you hear a sound that night while lying in bed, probably sounds you hear every single night without a second thought, it'll start messing with you. All of that is your brain dealing with the fear of the unknown. Thanks to this new-fangled camera, there is no more unknown. Everything is right out in the open, including Toby himself. You lose a lot of effectiveness when your mind isn't free to fill in the blanks. With all that said, having concrete proof of the entity does result in the family getting on board with the fact that they're haunted pretty quickly. The other movies tend to have one member who notices what's going on, while nobody believes them. If nothing else, it was a nice change of pace.

Unfortunately, the family is consistent with past flicks: that is, an unmemorable suburban family. Mama, papa, and baby girl are all stock archetypes, and Uncle Mike is even worse. Adult male with no sense of responsibility, casual drug use, lying about his crap life in front of women. Yeah, we've all seen that a hundred times, and we're treated to it once more here. Skylar is a strange addition. It's mentioned that she's something of a spiritualist, which usually serves as a way to explain some of the strange happenings to the audience, but she doesn't perform any role in that capacity. It seems her biggest role was being an attractive blonde for Mike to awkwardly hit on.

Like I said, when I learned The Ghost Dimension was going to be the final installment, I was really hoping they'd use it as an opportunity to tie together some of the apparent continuity problems the franchise had. As luck would have it, it did tackle some of the bigger ones. When I reviewed Paranormal Activity 3, I mentioned that the events of that prequel were totally different from Katie and Kristie's recollections of their childhood in the first two movies. Here, we get a reason for that discrepancy, which was a decent redemption for that movie. On the other hand, there's a huge question mark about Hunter's life between parts two and four. Namely, how did Hunter go from Katie's possession to being adopted by the Nelson family? This isn't addressed at all, and truth be told, you could actually watch the franchise while ignoring Paranormal Activity 4 completely and everything would be fine. The Marked Ones is also a bit out of place. Sure, it was a spin-off and it's aim was zooming out to look at the coven as a whole, but their day to day activities really doesn't fall into place with the series' main focus of Toby's plan. In the grand scheme of things, the only part of that movie that holds any weight is that it established the coven's time traveling ability.

I had no hopes at all for this, but I have to admit I kind of liked it. It plugged some of the franchise's holes that were bugging me, and put a satisfying cap on things. I'll admit it does create a bit of the classic "go back in time and kill your grandmother" paradox, but given the indirect nature of it and the supernatural aspect of the series, it's easily overlooked. 7/10.
Recommended Movies
Paranormal Activity 3 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Paranormal Activity 4 Paranormal Activity 2 Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night V/H/S Insidious: Chapter 3 Paranormal Parody Grave Encounters 2
Abnormal Activity IIII All Strippers Must Die! Paranormal Activity: A Hardcore Parody Abnormal Activity 3 Documenting The Grey Man
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