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


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


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

Extras boxoffice USA Network VICE adventure 21st Century Fox Holidays Ellie Kemper CW Seed Ovation Showtime Musicals Paramount Network BBC America singing competition anthology Mary Poppins Returns VH1 political drama Set visit Interview New York Comic Con Emmy Nominations Podcast MCU CBS historical drama talk show Comedy Central Emmys spider-man Crackle travel The Witch Star Trek TV Adult Swim Song of Ice and Fire Creative Arts Emmys sequel ESPN festivals Grammys Animation facebook finale miniseries Shudder spinoff Winners Amazon Prime Musical Teen Cannes Horror Red Carpet Marvel CBS All Access cinemax ABC Pop toy story X-Men Western 2016 Film Festival space Rom-Com golden globes sports TruTV Christmas casting science fiction Quiz adaptation Elton John HBO anime thriller Writers Guild of America cults Awards Tour Paramount Food Network aliens TBS Trophy Talk YA docudrama psycho Fall TV biography 2017 DC streaming service crossover Nat Geo medical drama Tumblr GIFs Sneak Peek Character Guide Acorn TV crime thriller 2015 Star Wars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Amazon zero dark thirty National Geographic Walt Disney Pictures See It Skip It Black Mirror Pixar TNT Brie Larson Calendar WarnerMedia politics dc Stephen King dragons based on movie Comics on TV Sci-Fi Drama dramedy animated cops Captain marvel The Arrangement Britbox Universal E! NYCC RT21 Countdown Superheroe TCM Watching Series robots Super Bowl Election crime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt disaster Mary Tyler Moore elevated horror Certified Fresh Ghostbusters mutant Premiere Dates Pride Month nature Epix DirecTV HBO Max 2018 award winner Columbia Pictures MTV Heroines Lifetime YouTube Red APB Cosplay Mindy Kaling Freeform crime drama police drama Spring TV President Starz spy thriller war 24 frames Chernobyl 2019 Anna Paquin LGBT Fantasy NBC SXSW OWN AMC Disney Channel Mary poppins technology Winter TV CNN Action Fox News diversity TLC Music doctor who Summer Sony Pictures ITV Kids & Family richard e. Grant Rocky Toys RT History Syfy cats Mudbound theme song Cartoon Network Reality Competition Disney FXX Awards supernatural Marathons Lucasfilm Valentine's Day Reality romance San Diego Comic-Con dceu BET blaxploitation Dark Horse Comics Superheroes what to watch TCA 2017 Mystery zombies Warner Bros. PBS Sundance Logo Vudu comic true crime Video Games A&E witnail FOX SundanceTV DGA PaleyFest Best and Worst FX DC Comics Nominations Biopics Tomatazos Thanksgiving Rock First Look Women's History Month sitcom Hulu period drama Comic Book Polls and Games Pet Sematary Rocketman GLAAD 007 Spectrum Originals MSNBC Apple social media TIFF Schedule hist Comedy WGN comiccon Sundance Now serial killer game show binge USA Trailer Country El Rey History DC Universe SDCC Opinion BBC unscripted IFC Films Oscars CMT discovery mockumentary jamie lee curtis vampires TV Land zombie YouTube Premium psychological thriller LGBTQ Netflix ABC Family Nickelodeon green book GoT TCA 20th Century Fox 45 strong female leads justice league natural history Photos ratings Tarantino Infographic Year in Review E3 Masterpiece IFC Bravo Shondaland American Society of Cinematographers Esquire teaser Spike Box Office Trivia Lionsgate Pirates Martial Arts The CW transformers television streaming cooking harry potter composers