Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Paranormal Activity 4 Offers Up Stale Scares

Plus, Alex Cross is a generic thriller, and The Sessions and Holy Motors are Certified Fresh.

by | October 19, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got ghostly video recordings (Paranormal Activity 4, starring Katie Featherston and Kathryn Newton) and a killer on the loose (Alex Cross, starring Tyler Perry and Edward Burns). What do the critics have to say?

Paranormal Activity 4

23%

The first three Paranormal Activity films were able to wring a surprising amount of scares out of purported found footage from stationary cameras. However, all good things must come to an end, and critics say Paranormal Activity 4 finds the franchise repeating itself, offering some decent shocks but mostly recycling the elements that worked better before. Alex (Kathryn Newton) is a teenager who notices a strange new kid in the neighborhood. When the boy’s mother is hospitalized, he moves in with Alex’s family – and seems to bring a strange curse with him. The pundits say Paranormal Activity 4 is pretty creepy, but the sense of surprise is gone — it’s the first entry that feels formulaic.

Alex Cross

11%

Despite the middling critical response to Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, detective Alex Cross gets another shot at big screen glory. Unfortunately, critics say Alex Cross is a thoroughly generic action thriller, and Tyler Perry lacks the gravitas Morgan Freeman brought to the title role previous installments. Cross is a Detroit cop on the trail of the sadistic serial killer Picasso (Matthew Fox), whose targets are comprised of the city’s elite. Soon, however, the mystery becomes personal as the killer threatens Cross’ loved ones. The pundits say Alex Cross is plagued by underdeveloped characters, big gaps in logic, and an overabundance of clichés. (Check out this week’s Total recall, in which we count down co-star Jean Reno’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about an inner city public school that boasts the best junior high chess team in the country, is at 100 percent.

  • Question One, a doc about the battle over gay marriage in Maine, is at 100 percent.

  • The Sessions, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt in a drama about a man with polio looking for romance, is Certified Fresh at 95 percent.

  • Holy Motors, a fantasy/drama comprised of a series of loosely connected vignettes involving a tycoon wearing a number of different costumes, is Certified Fresh at 93 percent.

  • We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, a doc about the hacker collective Anonymous, is at 88 percent.

  • Yogawoman, a doc about the history and practice of yoga, is at 80 percent.

  • All Together, starring Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin in a comedy about a group of seniors who attempt a communal living arrangement, is at 64 percent.

  • The Flat, a doc in which a man discovers dark family secrets while cleaning out his recently deceased grandmother’s apartment, is at 60 percent.

  • The First Time, a dramedy about a pair of high school kids who find themselves in the throes of first love, is at 56 percent.

  • Tai Chi Zero, a martial arts film about a town full of fighting experts who find themselves threatened by industrialists, is at 54 percent.

  • Nobody Walks, starring John Krasinski and Olivia Thirlby in drama about a filmmaker whose temporary residence upends the lives of her host family, is at 32 percent.

  • That’s What She Said, starring Anne Heche in a comedy about a woman and her close friends who go on a series of misadventures leading up to a big date, is at zero percent.

Finally, props to Mike Smith for coming the closest to guessing Atlas Shrugged: Part II‘s zero percent Tomatometer.

Tag Cloud

romance rt labs critics edition true crime Binge Guide richard e. Grant spanish language Elton John adenture Food Network breaking bad Crunchyroll black comedy wonder woman stoner Lionsgate rt labs Comedy Summer Comic-Con@Home 2021 facebook SXSW 2022 CBS All Access Indigenous cancelled Reality Competition canceled TV shows Freeform 2016 chucky Disney streaming service Classic Film hollywood target Stephen King travel scary DC Universe romantic comedy video on demand Netflix laika FX Mary Tyler Moore revenge international dogs tv talk Esquire olympics Exclusive Video The Walt Disney Company unscripted Teen reboot scene in color See It Skip It Crackle Showtime Disney MSNBC asian-american Television Academy GIFs Sony CBS spinoff dramedy Discovery Channel Quiz Cannes Awards Tour obituary saw Nominations doctor who sequels YouTube Premium Amazon Prime comic Holiday mockumentary suspense Action Calendar Comedy Central Chernobyl IFC Films what to watch dragons Spike cancelled television NYCC name the review Horror The Witch game show supernatural Pet Sematary Marvel Studios renewed TV shows Turner OneApp worst movies christmas movies biopic Fantasy streaming movies 79th Golden Globes Awards Women's History Month The Arrangement best slashers TCA Awards Superheroe Disney+ Disney Plus Dark Horse Comics Rom-Com DGA canceled Avengers Neflix broadcast harry potter twilight cancelled TV series superhero venice blockbusters VH1 TV renewals Walt Disney Pictures ID A24 2018 Hear Us Out OWN Marvel cops comic book movies Warner Bros. Lifetime Christmas movies Masterpiece ghosts biography latino king kong worst History trailers Music a nightmare on elm street zombie Emmys 2019 teaser sag awards politics news scene in color series WarnerMedia Hulu royal family target scene in color leaderboard mcc Reality Nat Geo Endgame AMC Trailer YouTube Red women WGN franchise Mary poppins Acorn TV American Society of Cinematographers golden globes space YouTube Sci-Fi independent legend Oscar miniseries TCA Winter 2020 italian Universal E! theme song FXX quibi obi wan docuseries prank Hallmark DC streaming service Opinion basketball binge werewolf 1990s fast and furious popular Disney Plus 99% feel good japan australia cats green book VICE cars TV movies Apple cooking Anna Paquin BAFTA Star Wars Celebration 72 Emmy Awards CMT elevated horror Apple TV Plus new star wars movies GLAAD french Amazon Paramount Pictures dexter Watching Series 21st Century Fox Cosplay New York Comic Con screen actors guild The Purge TNT police drama South by Southwest Film Festival Schedule Grammys art house Family Winter TV indie Extras kids james bond President El Rey Alien 24 frames Pixar Cartoon Network halloween tv APB NBA new york interviews FX on Hulu YA mob Winners video Oscars ViacomCBS critic resources 45 Tubi classics Arrowverse heist movie Image Comics debate south america spanish CNN Western war Mindy Kaling The CW Geeked Week streaming razzies emmy awards anthology Television Critics Association Super Bowl book adaptation blockbuster robots rom-coms Mudbound sopranos political drama lord of the rings nfl Emmy Nominations jamie lee curtis First Look live event ABC Signature Marathons Comic Book TLC Heroines Hallmark Christmas movies Certified Fresh Tokyo Olympics Comics on TV composers ABC Peacock sequel 73rd Emmy Awards Star Trek 20th Century Fox cartoon 93rd Oscars foreign Podcast Polls and Games Shudder dceu Apple TV+ First Reviews japanese 4/20 telelvision BBC One Amazon Prime Video casting hispanic Song of Ice and Fire 2017 universal monsters Drama Focus Features black gangster 2020 Captain marvel crime thriller Turner Classic Movies ratings San Diego Comic-Con comics Video Games vs. strong female leads Lifetime Trophy Talk streamig Trivia critics crime drama comic book movie posters The Walking Dead 90s TruTV Film Festival historical drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCM fresh ABC Family docudrama medical drama game of thrones HFPA die hard dark batman AMC Plus Tumblr BET psychological thriller TBS TV Land spain RT History toy story Interview adaptation PaleyFest RT21 LGBT psycho based on movie Animation Disney Channel TV One transformers 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards joker book vampires scene in color film series spy thriller Sneak Peek Musical Musicals Vudu Biopics Set visit Sundance TV Adult Swim Red Carpet BBC America deadpool Pop disaster screenings HBO Go young adult Native HBO Max Chilling Adventures of Sabrina VOD Pop TV 007 comic books singing competition MGM Christmas parents stop motion archives diversity IMDb TV Paramount Plus nbcuniversal GoT child's play Rock Legendary comedies serial killer Funimation Wes Anderson TV Paramount Network jurassic park hidden camera Baby Yoda ITV Columbia Pictures Holidays Paramount Best and Worst zombies Pirates blaxploitation Broadway SDCC aliens scary movies Netflix Christmas movies Shondaland mutant free movies 71st Emmy Awards witnail live action directors Universal Pictures MCU cults Amazon Studios Sundance Now Black History Month Best Actor Premiere Dates technology spider-man marvel comics remakes Star Wars rotten Marvel Television Prime Video Fall TV Country movie aapi social media criterion action-comedy mission: impossible IFC zero dark thirty Starz X-Men E3 golden globe awards cancelled TV shows Britbox boxing Year in Review Academy Awards period drama series Nickelodeon LGBTQ DC Comics dreamworks Martial Arts scorecard Fargo crime new zealand Fox News all-time National Geographic Kids & Family Hollywood Foreign Press Association SundanceTV satire rotten movies we love documentaries Sundance FOX Ghostbusters toronto Rocky 2015 ESPN Box Office Ovation summer TV boxoffice A&E BET Awards Mary Poppins Returns comiccon summer TV preview Rocketman Tags: Comedy Lucasfilm sitcom Sony Pictures know your critic Fox Searchlight 2021 hist DirecTV justice league Best Director 94th Oscars BBC festivals Travel Channel indiana jones finale nature Photos versus Spectrum Originals talk show children's TV kaiju halloween cinemax Brie Larson anime Toys Infographic award winner sports kong Best Actress Character Guide Tarantino movies Thanksgiving adventure films godzilla Logo natural history Valentine's Day MTV television Superheroes hispanic heritage month USA Network TIFF festival science fiction marvel cinematic universe spider-verse trophy stand-up comedy Awards Election Best Picture TCA 2017 PBS Bravo Creative Arts Emmys dc monster movies animated pirates of the caribbean Instagram Live summer preview documentary Writers Guild of America Black Mirror superman Spring TV king arthur SXSW slasher USA Mystery Pride Month discovery genre Tomatazos reviews HBO Film The Academy Syfy rt archives Countdown PlayStation CW Seed concert crossover football thriller high school NBC Epix TCA Pacific Islander Ellie Kemper