There is a scene around midway through this tale of yet another suburban family beset by supernatural forces when the audience sees found footage of characters watching video material they shot earlier in which they themselves watch found footage filmed two decades before. Is this demonstrative of how complex the Paranormal Activity franchise’s mythology has become? Or a sly acknowledgment by the film’s makers that the found footage genre, which the original 2007 Paranormal Activity did so much to popularize, really has now choked on its own tail, creatively speaking? Either way, it offers evidence that producer Jason Blum’s promise that this sixth entry in the series will be the last makes a lot of sense.
Or does it? Certainly there are signs of franchise-fatigue in Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which features egregious CGI and also introduces the rather ludicrous concept of a custom-made camera with a special lens capable of filming ghoulies (suck on that, Instagram!). But the cast, which includes Nashville actress Brit Shaw and 5 Second Films comedy troupe member Olivia Taylor Dudley, do enough that you care whether they live or die and the finale nicely invokes the “weird” spirit of horror author H.P. Lovecraft, albeit in a decidedly budget-conscious fashion.
Most of all, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is packed with cheap but nonetheless effective jump scares. If this is the last in the series, then the franchise has succeeded in going out with a bang — a bunch of them, actually, and at least a couple should have you involuntarily twitching in your seat.