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Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 103
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 78

Critics Consensus: While it does manage to wring a few more screams out of the franchise's surprisingly durable premise, Paranormal Activity 4 provides fans of the series with dismayingly diminishing returns.

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 15

Critics Consensus: While it does manage to wring a few more screams out of the franchise's surprisingly durable premise, Paranormal Activity 4 provides fans of the series with dismayingly diminishing returns.


Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 116,956




Movie Info

The fourth installment in the popular horror franchise.

R (for language and some violence/terror)
Directed By:
Written By:
Christopher Landon , Chad Feehan
In Theaters:
Jan 29, 2013
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Paranormal Activity 4

All Critics (103) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (78) | DVD (3)

We're still seeing things through handheld devices and built-in laptop cameras, even though nobody seems interested in looking at the footage the cameras were supposedly recording.

Full Review… | October 22, 2012
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Even for a something about supernatural shenanigans, this ending is embarrassing.

Full Review… | October 21, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

They could have called this Paranormal Inactivity.

Full Review… | October 21, 2012
Top Critic

The mood is often playful, with teases and fake-outs that are sometimes humorous and usually right before shocks. Violence is rare, quick and devoid of lingering close-ups.

Full Review… | October 21, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

There are at least a half-dozen or so decent jolts to be enjoyed over the film's running time, but prepare for a long wait to actually get to them.

Full Review… | October 19, 2012
Top Critic

The mythology has deepened, largely to the negative, and the formula is as rigid as the fixins of a fast-food sandwich-tastes the same in every city. But the effects are eternally reliable.

Full Review… | October 19, 2012
AV Club
Top Critic

Paranormal Activity 4 is arguably the weakest entry in the series, but if one still gets their kicks out of these films then that probably won't mean all that much.

Full Review… | September 8, 2013

Too bad it nearly falls apart in the end, undone by what must have been poor editing choices.

Full Review… | July 21, 2013

Instead of the mystery of the known, we spend half our time trying to figure out who in the hell we're supposed to be looking at.

Full Review… | June 23, 2013

The dread that should be smothering is merely an intermittent itch.

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
Seven Days

The fourth entry in the hugely successful film series just can't match the others in the nightmare-making department.

Full Review… | February 26, 2013

Paranormal Activity 4 is the worst of the series and one of the worst horror films ever made. It's bloated, drawn-out and has no idea how to provide a single scare.

Full Review… | February 4, 2013
We Got This Covered

A lack of originality does hold the film back, but with decent work behind the camera and a breakneck finale, Paranormal Activity 4 is still a solid watch if you've an evening spare, or horror film night coming up.

Full Review… | January 20, 2013
Fan The Fire

It's a strong and creepy expansion of the mythos, but one that could have used a lot more work in the story department.

Full Review… | December 23, 2012
Cinema Crazed

The eerie inertia and starkness of the past films' imagery are mostly gone here, and that style is what had set this series apart for me.

Full Review… | December 17, 2012

Little depth or subtext here. It's tough to care about the fate of a generic, whitebread family and its blonde-in-distress living in an airless, gated-community Nevada. We've seen the creepy kid and freaked-out teens in countless fear-fests before.

Full Review… | November 22, 2012
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The chills are centered at the end of 'Paranormal Activity 4.' Even more creepy is the "cute factor" of little kids that permeates most of the movie. Although the franchise may be running out of steam, this segment is more than mediocre.

Full Review… | November 20, 2012
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

And, then there was four. "Paranormal Activity 4″ is a sequel to the second film, not the third, and totally unnecessary, of course.

Full Review… | November 8, 2012
Movie Chambers

For the most part Paranormal Activity 4 is effective. It's problem lies in originality. Needed was something more than the "same old" for this sequel to truly stand out.

Full Review… | October 30, 2012
Matt's Movie Reviews

The latest instalment in a franchise of cheaply made mass-marketed movies that have lined the pockets of producers who chanced upon the holy grail of license-to-print-money filmmaking.

Full Review… | October 29, 2012

The popularity of this reliable if repetitious franchise suggests that anxieties over the ubiquity and invasiveness of social media and its related technologies may trouble even the most enthusiastic members of the plugged-in generation (even teenagers).

Full Review… | October 26, 2012
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Kids teleconferencing on their stupid computers=NOT SCARY!

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Reno News and Review

Anyone who's seen the other entries can tell you this series has never been about the story. "Paranormal Activity 4' proves this once again, and when you factor in the lazy writing and complete lack of scares, it easily earns the title of worst entry yet.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012

Unfortunately, this franchise has finally seemed to run its course. There are less quality scares, and now a story that almost doesn't matter.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
The Scorecard Review

Orin Pelli's original idea that we'll keep wanting to pay good money to watch a digital clock ticking over has surely run its course now.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Birmingham Post

When the scares do come, they come fast and hard but, unfortunately, far too late.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Boston Phoenix

Audience Reviews for Paranormal Activity 4

A great 10-minute short expanded into a tediously boring 90 minute feature that only reflects the studio's desperation (and lack of inspiration) to milk this franchise for all its worth.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

Story fatigue had already crept into this series well before this installment. Once again we are presented with lots of found footage from computer webcams. Shots of seemingly empty rooms, doors that close by themselves and loud bursts of noise following a period of silence. A couple jolted me awake. The script's contribution this time is to introduce the camera from a Microsoft Kinect video game console with the infrared tracking dots bathing the room in an eerie green light. The outline of an unexplained figure is about as scary as this gets. The human star is Alex, a teen girl played by Kathryn Newton. She is an appealing presence and conveys the natural vibe of a real teen. The same goes for actor Matt Shively who plays her boyfriend Ben. They are understandably freaked out by the strange goings on while the rest of the family inexplicably dismiss flying knives and possessed children as nothing, natch. The Featherston sisters, Katie & Kristi, have historically been the focus of the supernatural activity in this franchise. Kristi appears only in flashback and Katie is relegated to a minor character. The drama isn't advanced in any meaningful way. We're merely left with more of the same parlor tricks you've seen in 3 installments before. Except this time they're done with less enthusiasm. Despite the lackluster performance at the box office, PA5 is coming this October.

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Told almost entirely through Skype on computers and cell phones, "Paranormal Activity 4" is not just the worst of the series, but it just an overall poor film. The acting is fine, but the plot makes almost no sense, because it tries too hard to intertwine the story lines from the previous films. Nothing about this film works, and even though some of the previous instalments relied on cool jump scares to make it watchable, this film doesn't even try to accomplish that, because it waits until the last moment of the film to be even remotely terrifying, and that is be being as generous as I possibly can. This film is only 80 minutes long, and when a film that short, feels too long, there is something wrong. Everything about this film from the directing, to the script, is just so sloppy. I don't know how the studio green lit this piece of shit.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

The very worst movie I have seen for a long time. I remember at the end of the movie and turning around to a stranger saying "Well that was **** wasn't it?"

Alexander Wilson

Super Reviewer

Paranormal Activity 4 Quotes

Ben: Damn, Cockblocked.
– Submitted by Jake G (17 months ago)
Alex: Oh my God! Please don't hurt me.
– Submitted by Mandy C (22 months ago)
Robbie: You'll find out.
– Submitted by Sharon T (22 months ago)
Alex: Fuckin' Prius!
– Submitted by Daniel R (23 months ago)
Alex: He's so creepy.
– Submitted by Austin G (23 months ago)
Alex: There's something in the street.
– Submitted by Gianluca S (23 months ago)

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