Critics Consensus: Paranormal Activity 4 Offers Up Stale Scares

Plus, Alex Cross is a generic thriller, and The Sessions and Holy Motors are Certified Fresh.

This week at the movies, we've got ghostly video recordings (Paranormal Activity 4, starring Katie Featherston and Kathryn Newton) and a killer on the loose (Alex Cross, starring Tyler Perry and Edward Burns). What do the critics have to say?

Paranormal Activity 4

24%

The first three Paranormal Activity films were able to wring a surprising amount of scares out of purported found footage from stationary cameras. However, all good things must come to an end, and critics say Paranormal Activity 4 finds the franchise repeating itself, offering some decent shocks but mostly recycling the elements that worked better before. Alex (Kathryn Newton) is a teenager who notices a strange new kid in the neighborhood. When the boy's mother is hospitalized, he moves in with Alex's family - and seems to bring a strange curse with him. The pundits say Paranormal Activity 4 is pretty creepy, but the sense of surprise is gone -- it's the first entry that feels formulaic.

Alex Cross

12%

Despite the middling critical response to Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, detective Alex Cross gets another shot at big screen glory. Unfortunately, critics say Alex Cross is a thoroughly generic action thriller, and Tyler Perry lacks the gravitas Morgan Freeman brought to the title role previous installments. Cross is a Detroit cop on the trail of the sadistic serial killer Picasso (Matthew Fox), whose targets are comprised of the city's elite. Soon, however, the mystery becomes personal as the killer threatens Cross' loved ones. The pundits say Alex Cross is plagued by underdeveloped characters, big gaps in logic, and an overabundance of clichés. (Check out this week's Total recall, in which we count down co-star Jean Reno's best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about an inner city public school that boasts the best junior high chess team in the country, is at 100 percent.
  • Question One, a doc about the battle over gay marriage in Maine, is at 100 percent.
  • The Sessions, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt in a drama about a man with polio looking for romance, is Certified Fresh at 95 percent.
  • Holy Motors, a fantasy/drama comprised of a series of loosely connected vignettes involving a tycoon wearing a number of different costumes, is Certified Fresh at 93 percent.
  • We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, a doc about the hacker collective Anonymous, is at 88 percent.
  • Yogawoman, a doc about the history and practice of yoga, is at 80 percent.
  • All Together, starring Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin in a comedy about a group of seniors who attempt a communal living arrangement, is at 64 percent.
  • The Flat, a doc in which a man discovers dark family secrets while cleaning out his recently deceased grandmother's apartment, is at 60 percent.
  • The First Time, a dramedy about a pair of high school kids who find themselves in the throes of first love, is at 56 percent.
  • Tai Chi Zero, a martial arts film about a town full of fighting experts who find themselves threatened by industrialists, is at 54 percent.
  • Nobody Walks, starring John Krasinski and Olivia Thirlby in drama about a filmmaker whose temporary residence upends the lives of her host family, is at 32 percent.
  • That's What She Said, starring Anne Heche in a comedy about a woman and her close friends who go on a series of misadventures leading up to a big date, is at zero percent.

Finally, props to Mike Smith for coming the closest to guessing Atlas Shrugged: Part II's zero percent Tomatometer.

Comments

Epic Barney Funk

Barney Funk

It seems like Paranormal is following in Saw's footsteps. Enough is enough

Oct 18 - 04:38 PM

Trevon Reid

Trevon Reid

The best comment I've read today.

Oct 18 - 04:42 PM

Epic Barney Funk

Barney Funk

Thanks man! Love the Regular Show pic!

Oct 18 - 04:43 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

I LOL'd at your profile pic, Trevon.

Oct 18 - 06:22 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

Implying Saw 2 and 3 actually worked as sequels.

Oct 20 - 10:50 PM

Francesco F.

Francesco Fortuna

Well the trailers for Alex Cross were crap to me and I had a feeling the movie would get panned. I guess I was right. I wasn't sure which horror movie to see Sinister or Paranormal activity, but looks like Sinister wins. I'll just rent Paranormal Activity 4 when it becomes available on DVD.

Oct 18 - 04:42 PM

Trevon Reid

Trevon Reid

The best comment I've read today.

Oct 18 - 04:42 PM

Epic Barney Funk

Barney Funk

Thanks man! Love the Regular Show pic!

Oct 18 - 04:43 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

I LOL'd at your profile pic, Trevon.

Oct 18 - 06:22 PM

Epic Barney Funk

Barney Funk

Thanks man! Love the Regular Show pic!

Oct 18 - 04:43 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I better see if Paranormal Activity 4's a good movie or a bad one. I agree with the critics. I don't think PA4 is gonna be a success in the franchise.

Alex Cross is a so-so Tyler Perry movie, but I'll pass for theaters, but wait for a rental.

Oct 18 - 05:10 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

I LOL'd at your profile pic, Trevon.

Oct 18 - 06:22 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Tyler Perry in an action thriller seems like a waste of time to me. I don't watch his work but I can tell that a movie like Alex Cross is way out of his league. Plus, am I the only one who thinks the girl in Paranormal Activity 4 is hot?

Oct 18 - 06:25 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

No you aren't.

Oct 19 - 03:55 AM

Total  S.

Total Stranger

They're really pimping her out. Even threw the curve of her ass on the poster. Still...yeah, I don't care.

Oct 19 - 10:51 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

She makes me feel old. I realize she's probably in her early (hell maybe late) 20's...but she just looks like a kid to me. DAMN YOU MOVIE POSTER!

Oct 19 - 02:33 PM

Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson

She's actually 15...wow...20??? Not even close..

Oct 19 - 03:24 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

OH! well that's great news. I thought psychologically she was a little kid because she's playing a little kid and it turns out She is a little kid playing a little kid. Huh, how do you like that.

That's kind of gross that little kid is being sexually extorted on the poster. Weired.

Oct 19 - 04:21 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Usually teenagers are played by adults in films you know.

Oct 19 - 04:25 PM

Ken Wolfson

Ken Wolfson

Paranormal should just end it already. They are going nowhere if the whole demoness plotline, its just the same stuff over and over

Oct 18 - 06:53 PM

Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson

They are actually going some where, if you pay attention to the story and plot. In PA4 you find out that ((spoilers)) katie gives Hunter up for adoption, and then she adopts a different kid..weird..I know, but it will all come together in the 5th one which will hopefully be the last!

Oct 19 - 03:27 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Holy Motors has me very intrigued. No theater around me is playing it, though, so it looks like it will be a long wait until home video for that one.

Alex Cross looked laughable from the beginning. Tyler Perry as a badass is ludicrous, just watch the trailer to see his cringe inducing lines that are supposed to make him sound hardened and tough. Rob Cohen directing only makes me want to see it less. Has he even been relevant since the early 2000's? Not to mention the Alex Cross novels themselves are complete dreck from the king of shitty books, James Patterson. Props to Matthew Fox, though; his physical transformation was pretty impressive.

Oct 18 - 07:00 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

Well, how many James Patterson book have you read?

Oct 19 - 03:54 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Is it an endurance contest?

Oct 19 - 09:06 AM

SecondBest

This Guy

I'll probably end up watching Paranormal Activity 4 this weekend. So far I have really liked the first three entries of this continuing franchise.

It is really bad to hear the reviews of Alex Cross, but i'll still rent it when it comes out in dvd.
So YEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Oct 18 - 07:01 PM

Jason H.

Jason Huang

wow look at last week when argo and seven psychopaths came out... now look at this week...

Oct 18 - 07:09 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Wow, I didn't know Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider were that poorly reviewed. I quite enjoyed them, but I could listen to Morgan Freeman recite the phone book and still enjoy it.

Oct 18 - 07:15 PM

Jake Cecena

Jake Cecena

The only movie this week that looks interesting to me is The Sessions, but since it's not playing anywhere near where I live, I'll probably just wait to rent it when it comes out. As for the two new wide releases, they both look equally terrible. I gave up on the PA franchise after the second movie and Tyler Perry is easily one of the most overrated, untalented hacks in the film industry today. Too bad he still keeps raking in the dough, no matter what piece of shit excuse for a movie he stars in or directs. I guess I'll just see Seven Psychopaths or maybe Argo again.

Oct 18 - 07:26 PM

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