From Paramount's point-of-view, there's a compelling reason to continue the Paranormal Activity series: It's a cash-cow -- a low-budget, high-earning (number one at the box-office this past weekend) crowd-pleaser. The studio has some experience in this field, having previously cranked out the Friday the Thirteenth films, a franchise that became so threadbare by the end that Jason wound up rampaging on a space station in the 25th century.
Paranormal Activity 4 hasn't yet gotten that desperate -- we're still somewhat in the present day, rather than a future when the series' found-footage concept would amount to people jacking in to virtual reality terminals -- but the strain is beginning to show. Can bringing in a new family, throwing Skype and smart-phones into the voyeurish mix, and carrying forward on the series' sinister cult story arc give the franchise some sense of forward momentum, or should we just be happy to once again be living through PA's well-established assortment of ambient chills? Cinefantastique Online's Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and I discuss whether 4 makes them wish for no more.
Then, I give my capsule thoughts on the home-video release of the transgressive amateur surgery horror film Excision, and we discuss what's coming to theaters in the next week.