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

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