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

24%

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

12%

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

ABC Fox News Star Wars Marvel Set visit Writers Guild of America USA Showtime docudrama social media Awards Musicals Nickelodeon what to watch DC Comics Podcast Cosplay GIFs MSNBC Syfy WGN ESPN crime Comic Book CBS All Access Masterpiece The Arrangement crime thriller adventure Oscars Valentine's Day ITV Super Bowl GLAAD First Look discovery BBC America Reality Logo ABC Family Summer Lifetime dramedy Kids & Family A&E PBS supernatural Food Network Spring TV History Lionsgate PaleyFest Rock comiccon President HBO Music Star Trek IFC Opinion political drama psycho composers FXX Marathons zombie VH1 Trailer war Sneak Peek Year in Review Nominations Musical BET VICE TLC Winners SDCC vampires Watching Series Trivia Red Carpet X-Men DC Universe talk show TCM FOX romance Biopics Sundance Paramount Best and Worst Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Polls and Games Hulu Comedy Pirates Comedy Central Esquire cats BBC Reality Competition Infographic MTV Premiere Dates TCA Rom-Com Freeform Tomatazos Ellie Kemper Rocky aliens Animation E! Election travel 007 Extras NBC 24 frames Box Office Mystery historical drama American Society of Cinematographers Adult Swim science fiction sitcom SundanceTV boxoffice CMT RT History AMC 2017 Mary Tyler Moore Toys OWN CNN Action thriller Sci-Fi Country Cartoon Network based on movie NYCC Countdown Ghostbusters cinemax Netflix Emmys CBS Video Games 2015 Crackle Amazon Horror TIFF DirecTV Martial Arts Grammys TV Land Superheroes FX Tumblr TruTV Teen harry potter TNT cops Disney Channel The CW APB serial killer Fall TV YA Bravo Warner Bros. Dark Horse Comics cooking singing competition TCA 2017 Character Guide Schedule Pop LGBTQ sports Drama transformers Nat Geo 45 Universal TV Winter TV Fantasy Calendar GoT Holidays 2016 TBS Starz Mindy Kaling Thanksgiving police drama period drama Photos E3 El Rey biography Certified Fresh politics Disney Interview diversity technology crime drama