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Paranormal Activity 4 Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (A? B?)
  • Rating: R & Unrated
  • Run Time: 87 (Rated) & 96 (Unrated) Mins
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet & iTunes Digital Copy
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 29th, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

In this 4th entry into the Paranormal Activity series, of which takes place 5 years after the events of the 2nd film, we find a new family experiencing paranormal ‘activity’ (pun intended.) Moving the story to a suburban outside of Henderson, Nevada, we meet teenager Alex (Kathryn Newton), her mother Holly (Alexondra Lee), her father Doug (Stephen Dunham) and her little brother Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp). One day, Alex and her boyfriend Ben (Matt Shivley) discover Robbie (Brady Allen), the neighbor’s child, sitting in their tree house. After Robbie’s mother is taken to the hospital, Robbie is invited to stay with Alex and her family. Shortly after this, weird things begin happening, prompting Alex and Ben to set up cameras around the house, in the hopes of finding out exactly what is occurring. What results just may shock everyone.

Utilizing a rather low budget and a new found sense of the ‘haunted house’ angle, the original Paranormal Activity stormed theaters back in 2009 to critically and commercial success. While the film itself was nothing brand new, the different use of thrills, chills and scares connected with audiences as said scares felt real (even if they obviously weren’t). Then came the 2nd, which lacked the overall quality of the film. Then the third one arrived, which was (in this reviewers humble opinion) far better than the second. Now (almost in a kind of yearly tradition), the fourth one has arrived – and you know what? Even though I’m kind of getting tired of these movies and their overuse ‘hey, let’s throw stuff in front of the camera to create a sudden thrill’ movement, I still keep coming back. Why? Probably because I want to see what new twists and ‘scares’ the Peli and co have. I suppose that, in the end, warrants a 5th, sixth, seventh, eighth, etc., etc., entry into this series because, after all, you KNOW Paramount will keep these coming.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Paranormal Activity 4, like its predecessors, arrives with a 1:85:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer. Also like its previous Blu-ray releases, the film mixes in ‘found footage,’  and utilizes different camera qualities. Luckily though, the camera styles result in a mostly solid effort. Colors can tend to be spot on in varying moments (like that of facial close-ups), but whenever there’s a wider, sudden jerky camera movement, colors suffer. Black crush is easily visible in any of the night sequences. Grain, with the film being shot digitally, is non-existent, but a soft layer looks to have been added (one can presume) in post production. Essentially these movies are made on a rather low budget, and this transfer shows just that. Acceptable for the work at hand, but nothing amazing to write home about.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Like the film’s video presentation, I found the included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix to be serviceable. Dialogue is well reproduced via the center channel, while atmosphere only really kicks in during the second half of the film (you know, when the ‘scares’ happen.) LFE outputs a decent oomph here and there, but I found it somewhat lacking (especially considering HOW MANY sudden ‘throw in your face’ moments there are.) All in all, this is a aural effort that is acceptable at best.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The included features are presented in High Definition:

  • The Recovered Files – This runs 28:56 and serves as the film’s deleted scenes, all of which are decent at best.
  • UltraViolet
  • iTunes Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

The Paranormal Activity films (outside of perhaps the first one) aren’t great films at all, as the scares really aren’t there, however, we keep on coming back as they all seemingly end with a sort of ‘cliffhanger.’ I do suppose if you find a purpose to watch these films more than once, then add this 4th entry to your collection. Otherwise give  it a rental.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Paranormal Activity 4 (Unrated) - Widescreen - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Paranormal Activity 4 on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

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BestBuy.com:
Paranormal Activity 4 (Unrated) - Widescreen - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Paranormal Activity 4 on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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