Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Horror
  • Director: Gregory Plotkin
  • Cast: Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George


The Ghost Dimension, follows a new family, The Fleeges – father Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mother Emily (Brit Shaw) and their young daughter Leila (Ivy George) – Who move into a house and discover a video camera and a box of tapes in the garage. When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them – including the re-emergence of young Kristi and Katie.


  • The Paranormal Activity franchise has now churned out six movies. The latest issue is called Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (my most current review). Right after seeing “Dimension”, I decided to look up its wiki page. In said page, it stated that this October release is supposed to be the final chapter. Uh huh. I’m sure the producers will figure out a way to make another one. After all, these flicks come with a micro budget and make a ton of money. The formula is always the same: 1. have unknown actors/actresses headline while forcing them to act like complete tools. 2. include characters that are rich or well off (with nice houses) and let their families get terrorized by evil spirits. 3. have said characters walk around while filming everything even though their lives are in total danger. 4. have children involved and feature them seeing or hearing things that no one else does. 5. include no background music. 6. finally, try to tie in the current installment with other installments by way of various clues left behind.

    Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension with its rookie director and ameliorated special effects, contains these factoids and a few minor differences. It cost more to make than any of the other follow-ups, it negates a hook in which you see actual ghosts this time around (hence the title), it takes place during the silly season (Christmas to be exact), and lastly, it doesn’t feature Katie Featherston in a cameo (oh well). So am I recommending it? Not exactly. There’s a few creepy moments, a couple of jolting scares, and one hot mama (Olivia Taylor Dudley as houseguest vixen, Skyler). Unfortunately, “Dimension” just feels reused from all the other sequels that came before it (same text on screen, different director, same producer). Oh and if this is the way the filmmakers are gonna wrap things up, they should’ve avoided almost copying the endings of Paranormal Activity’s 2, 3, and 4. Talk about a weak denouement.

    Anyway, out of all five of the previous Paranormal Activity flicks, “Dimension” randomly decides to filter its story in through the third vehicle (sisters Katie and Kristi circa 1988) and the second vehicle (the young child Hunter is mentioned and is shown on a home video). The proceedings take place in Santa Rosa, CA with plenty of obligatory, found footage to boot (sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s being documented here and what’s just plain old Panavision). The story gives us the Fleege family consisting of Ryan Fleege (Chris J. Murray), Emily Fleege (Brit Shaw), and Leila Fleege (Ivy George). They move into a new house not knowing that it was built over a previous one that burnt down. While unpacking in their new abode, Ryan notices a video camera with plenty of VHS tapes laying around. These tapes contain a sinister and supernatural plan put into motion over twenty years ago. Also, whenever anyone attempts to film anything or anyone, ghostly images appear on the old video camera’s lens. Happy holidays everybody!

    In retrospect, I have only heralded the first two Paranormal Activity films as being anywhere near advantageous. The first one I felt, effectively piggybacked The Blair Witch Project. The second had some great roving (and panning), camera techniques which upped the flinching, fear factor. Bottom line: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension isn’t awful, it’s just ho hum. You could rank it evenly with 3, 4, and 5 (whose actual title is “The Marked Ones”). Call it a cash grab. Call it horror deja vu. My rating: 2 and a half stars.

    Of note: “Dimension” takes place in 2013. That’s right 2013. There’s a scene where Brit Shaw’s Emily looks up a phone number for a priest to exorcise her house. She does this by festering through the yellow pages. Huh? I thought people nowadays used stuff like computers or smartphones to get information (that’s how you find that search engine called Google, right). This is an interesting oversight if I do say so myself.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

    Check out other reviews on my blog:

  • I’ve always had a lot of respect for the “Paranormal Activity” movies, if not a whole lot of love. “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” (R, 1:28) is the sixth installment in the series, which has scared up about $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide, against less than $25 million in production expenses. The original “Paranormal Activity” (2009) was filmed in the house owned by Oren Peli, who was the film’s producer, director, writer, cinematographer and editor. Peli made that film for $15,000 and it ended up earning nearly $200 million worldwide – almost 13 THOUSAND times what it cost. This, of course, was the film that started that billion dollar franchise and, co-produced by Jason Blum, helped establish Blumhouse Productions, which eventually brought horror fans the “Insidious”, “Sinister” and “The Purge” films, as well as the Best Picture Oscar Nominee “Whiplash” in 2014. Now THAT’S a success story that anyone who has ever tried to make a buck on their own idea or vision has to respect… but what Movie Fans really want to know about a movie is whether it’s any good. That’s what matters to us.

    Personally, I liked all of the “Paranormal Activity” movies… but I didn’t LOVE them. As they were bringing us creative stories, helping to turn the found-footage subgenre from a novelty into a viable filmmaking option, redefining horror movies for the 21st century and giving audiences thrills, chills and our fills… of plot twists, there was a downside to the fun. For one thing, the “Paranormal” movies did what the “Fast & Furious” series did – give us films out of the sequence of the overall narratives of its characters – but even tougher to keep straight. The other problem with the “Paranormal” films has always been a lack of action. Although they’ve put some scary and interesting moments on the screen, in most of the movies, not a whole lot happens – especially in the first one which seems overly dependent on the single big payoff at the very end of the film. The advertising for “The Ghost Dimension” promises a franchise-capping story that will answer all of the fans’ questions and take us where no “Paranormal Activity” has taken us before. The question is whether the sixth installment gives the series the ending fans deserve.

    “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” takes place in 2013, after the events of “Paranormal Activity 2” and reflective of the events in “Paranormal Activity 3”, from a present-day perspective. Young married couple Ryan and Emily Fleege (Chris J. Murray and Brit Shaw) move into a house built on the land where the home of Katie and Micah stood in the first film. Ryan and Emily have a little girl named Leila (Ivy George), whom they call Lee, and Emily’s sister Skyler (Olivia Taylor Dudley) lives there too. When Ryan’s brother, Mike (Dan Gill), newly separated from his wife, comes to stay for a couple weeks, there are then enough unsuspecting people in the house for the ghosts to begin tormenting.

    While setting up Ryan’s Christmas decorations, Ryan and Mike come across a mysterious box that Ryan says isn’t his. Inside there is a series of VHS video tapes and an old, but uniquely upgraded video camera. The tapes show the young Kristi and Katie, circa 1988, being introduced to Toby (as in the third film) and being taught to make the most of their psychic abilities. That camera has the ability to see and record spectral phenomena. As Ryan and Mike try to figure out what’s really happening on those tapes and record increasingly prominent ghost-like apparitions, Lee is observed talking to an invisible “friend” and behaving very oddly. At first, the Fleeges try to solve the mystery and protect the little girl themselves. They eventually call in a priest (Michael Krawic), but it starts to look like it might all be too little, too late.

    “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” is a very disappointing ending to the groundbreaking series. The film suffers from the same malady as all the others – not enough action and not enough dread until the very end. The special effects are good, with paranormal wisps of black smoke looking a lot like those in “Crimson Peak”, and the 3-D gives a very nice depth to the shots of that wide-open house and those spectral images and it serves the few brief action scenes pretty well. Unfortunately, contrary to what the movie’s advertising would lead us to believe, our peek into the Ghost Dimension is frustratingly fleeting, with even the “Poltergeist” remake doing a better job of showing us “the other side”. This movie has a half-way decent climactic scene, but the story’s ultimate resolution and the final image on the screen elicited dissatisfied groans from my fellow theater patrons. Although I settled for the more subtle eye roll myself, I felt their pain. Basically, this movie gives us the standard “Paranormal Activity” formula, but without a worthwhile payoff. Much like the ghosts that the films portray, the 2015 installment shows that the “Paranormal Activity” movies have outlived their usefulness and should just fade away. “C-“

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