[Spoiler] Paranormal Activity 4 Explained
Get your questions about Paranormal Activity 4 Answered here
Paranormal Activity 4 (review) has caused a huge stir already, for two reasons. First, there seems to be a general consensus that PA4 does not live up to its predecessors in terms of story or creepy scares. Some of the more “horror intelligentsia” horror critics who have unfortunately built their reputation by leading a band of adolescent haters really rip the film to shreds, while others with a more level-headed POV generally acknowledge similar shortcomings while applauding the final act where some excitement effectively transpires.
The second area of heated discussion surrounds what actually happened in Paranormal Activity 4. In spite of common complaints that not much happened to further the story at all, there actually are a few components. Unfortunately, whether the cause is editing or failure to provide some significant meat, many of the story furtherance’s are either confusing or kind of lost in the fray. So here, we’ll first spell out the entire story of PA4 including all spoilers, and then we will break down what we could pick out of the players and storyline… some of the information will be directly from events in prior segments of the series, and others conjecture based on a combination of piecing together the puzzle, and theory.
Spoilers below! If you are looking instead for a review without
significant spoilers, read ours here.
In the beginning of PA4 15 year old Alex is filming her brother Wyatt during a soccer game. She is there with her mother, and her father shows up late… which obviously upsets her and gives a clue as to the tense family relations between husband and wife. At one point on the film of the game a young boy is shown standing on the sidelines, creepily staring at Wyatt and not moving otherwise. On the way home Wyatt sees the same kid walking on the sidewalk and mentions that he sees that kid again, and at this point we learn that he is the son of a woman who recently moved into the house across the street from theirs. His name is Robbie.
Later that night, Alex is hanging out with her boyfriend Ben and decides to show him her brother’s playhouse out back, and because these two practically live on video chat they film the walk to the back yard. Both are shocked to find Robbie sitting in the fort alone… at night. The kid is very creepy, and Alex walks him back to his own house across the street. The same night, there is an ambulance and a number of emergency personnel around the house across the street, apparently taking Robbie’s mother off to the hospital, and Alex’s mother offers to look after Robbie for a couple of days while his mom is gone. Now that Robbie is in the house things really start to get weird.
The next day Wyatt and Robbie are caught talking to Robbie’s invisible friend in the fort out back, and later on Wyatt is apparently playing multi-player on the Wii Kinect with that same invisible friend while Robbie sits silently on the living room couch. When Ben shows everyone how the infrared tracking dots show up clearly on the computer video camera some movement can be seen next to Robbie on the couch.
The next day Ben shows Alex some video he’s taken of her sleeping at night – his excuse for the filming is that his computer automatically records such things, but she stops being angry about it when she sees that the camera caught Robbie sneaking into her room and getting into bed with her. This prompts them both to set computers and cameras up all over the house to keep an eye on the strange behavior of Robbie. The cameras capture several strange things like Robbie getting up in the middle of the night talking to the TV, Robbie and Wyatt running around the house chasing a shadow figure, and black shapes darting around in the darkness. Robbie also starts drawing symbols on Wyatt’s back – the same demonic symbols that were found around in PA2 and PA3. Wyatt ends up yelling into his closet that his name is Wyatt, not Hunter. Soon after, when Alex is alone in the house, she hears strange noises and sees the chandelier swaying in the dining room before the chandelier in the entry crashes down and almost kills her.
The next day Alex sees Robbie and Wyatt run across the street to Robbie’s house, and when she follows them she finds a woman who claims to be Robbie’s mother, yet she is not at all sick of injured… plus, this is Katie. Wyatt tells his sister that Robbie’s mother informed him that he is adopted, and that his name is really Hunter. Katie starts showing up around Alex’s house, and at some point Alex is lifted into the air by an invisible entity.
The next day Katie is filmed walking around in Alex’s house, and when Alex’s mother comes home and hears strange noises she is suddenly picked up into the air by an unseen spectre and dropped hard on the floor, dead. Ben then comes to the house looking for Alex, and when he doesn’t find her he starts to look through the footage captured on her computer, but Katie appears behind him and snaps his neck. Then Alex and her father arrive home and the father sees what he thinks is his wife and Wyatt walking into the house across the street. After he goes to investigate Alex finds Ben’s body and runs across the street to warn her father about Robbie’s mom, but when she gets there she sees her father being drug around the house by an invisible force. She tries to chase him but can’t find the body. She tries to leave the house but Katie appears with a demon face, screaming at Alex – who then locks herself in a back bedroom and escapes through the window while Katie is breaking down the door. Once outside Alex finds Wyatt standing outside, and just as she’s about to run off with him a huge hoarde of witches (that look like zombies) appear in front of her, and from the other direction comes demon-faced Katie, ready for the attack. Then the credits roll.
So… what happened here?
First, the facts. We learned in PA2 and PA3 that there is a demon at play here, befriended by a coven of witches. One of those witches was the mother of Katie and Katie’s sister Kristi, and grandma leads both girls to the dark side at the end of PA3 when they are very young. It is Kristi who ultimately has a son, the first son in the family line in 75 years or so, and it is Katie who kills Kristi and takes the young son, named Hunter, at the beginning of PA4. It appears that Hunter was then adopted by Alex’s family and re-named Wyatt.
Now some theory…
There was a woman and her son Robbie who moved into the house across the street from Alex’s house, but since the demon in question is “the possessor of children” (which is mentioned in PA4) the demon possessed Robbie because he lived across the street from Wyatt/Hunter (Wyatt/Hunter was getting to an age where he was ready to meet the demon and fulfill some kind of undisclosed evil plan) and then the possessed Robbie and killed his mother. Once that was done, Katie stepped in as the “mother” to prepare Wyatt/Hunter for the next phase of this demon plan. This explains why the house where all of the witches hung out in PA3 was very unique and creepy, while the house across the street from Wyatt/Hunter is boring and normal looking... it wasn’t originally a witch house of any kind, but just became so because the house happened to be across the street from Wyatt/Hunter. The evidence that Robbie actually killed his real mother is found in the furnishings of that house – all of the furniture is covered in sheets and looks pretty abandoned, which would be consistent with a dead mother. Robbie was hiding in the tree fort so that he wouldn’t be found by the emergency personnel and taken off to a foster home. It was Katie who called Alex’s mother and asked if she could look after Robbie for a little while.
The demon then possessed Wyatt/Hunter (by dragging him under the water in a bath tub) and caused him to willingly go with Katie and watch while Alex is killed by Katie and the witch hoard. Now, with a first-born mail child descended from a member of the witch coven, the wheels are turning toward the conclusion of “why” this whole thing is happening. Hopefully, in PA5, we will find out what the significance is of a first born male to the demon, and what the plan is going forward. It is possible that this could turn into a simple Anti-Christ type of story, or maybe Jack the Ripper or something. For now what we know is that Hunter needed to be raised by people separate from the witch family so that nobody could intercede and mess up the master plan, and Katie made sure of that.
So there you have it – PA4 in all it’s glory. This one is worth seeing mainly for the last 10 minutes, and a bit of story progress. Not the best one by far, but still… they come in a set.
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