Combustible Celluloid
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With: Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, Dan Gill, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Don McManus, Michael Krawic, Hallie Foote, Aiden Lovekamp, Cara Pifko, Mark Steger, Rebecca Larsen
Written by: Jason Pagan, Andrew Deutschman, Adam Robitel, Gavin Heffernan, based on a story by Jason Pagan, Andrew Deutschman, Brantley Aufill
Directed by: Gregory Plotkin
MPAA Rating: R for language and some horror violence
Running Time: 88
Date: 10/23/2015

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Giving Up the 'Ghost'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Very tenuously connected to the rest of the Paranormal Activity films, this sixth entry follows the familiar routine, with the same old scares and no fresh ideas. It struggles simply to make sense.

A loving family, dad Ryan (Ryan), mom Emily (Brit Shaw), and young daughter Leila (Ivy George), are about to celebrate Christmas in their new house. Uncle Mike (Dan Gill) has come to visit, and the pretty Skyler (Olivia Taylor Dudley), who is a kind of healer, lives with them. Ryan finds a box with a strange camera and old VHS video tapes.

The camera appears to pick up weird, ghostly frequencies, and the tapes reveal two young girls, Katie and Kristi, performing strange rituals. Soon Leila begins acting oddly, speaking to an invisible friend, "Toby," and the camera picks up a mass of inky tendrils moving about the house. The desperate family must try to figure out what the demon wants, and stop it before it takes their daughter away.

The ghost camera is perhaps the only new wrinkle (we see "Toby" for the first time), but nothing terribly unique is done with it, aside from showing off some tired 3D effects. Also, human characters are introduced in specific ways and are simply dropped as scary stuff starts happening; we cease to care.

Director Gregory Plotkin was an editor on the last four entries, including the very good parts 2-3, and yet his knowledge of the found-footage idea doesn't seem to have taken hold. The logic behind his footage isn't always clear. It's flat-out uninspired filmmaking, motivated by profits. Even the lazy title makes no sense. There's no "ghost" and there's no "dimension." The producers have promised that this is the last one, and just in time: this series has clearly sputtered out.

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