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

CMT singing competition Premiere Dates Awards Comedy Central Warner Bros. 007 Lifetime Adult Swim Best and Worst TCA crime thriller Logo docudrama HBO Superheroe Pirates Fantasy TIFF medical drama El Rey cats war Spring TV Pop transformers Star Trek 45 BBC GLAAD Food Network police drama justice league TCM science fiction Paramount Country adventure based on movie politics dramedy FX Music Trivia CW Seed X-Men YA Mindy Kaling zombies travel Masterpiece Comedy E3 Mary Tyler Moore sitcom Infographic Grammys aliens Kids & Family dceu LGBTQ political drama Christmas Esquire unscripted AMC historical drama festivals crossover 24 frames romance crime drama DC streaming service APB American Society of Cinematographers Hulu hist Video Games MTV Polls and Games Amazon History Sneak Peek First Look Ellie Kemper Emmys Interview spy thriller Creative Arts Emmys Election NBC boxoffice DirecTV Ghostbusters Paramount Network TV Land Valentine's Day USA Tomatazos NYCC biography Trailer Cartoon Network PaleyFest ABC Family period drama crime dc President Rocky OWN BET SXSW Fox News Syfy ABC TBS vampires Year in Review composers Teen Star Wars USA Network Rock DC Comics Biopics Nat Geo social media Toys Sony Pictures Opinion Fall TV TCA 2017 Western Bravo cooking Animation Freeform ITV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 20th Century Fox TLC TruTV robots Mystery ESPN Spike comiccon Musical CBS All Access Character Guide what to watch Winners Schedule TV Super Bowl Reality thriller A&E diversity 2017 CNN Marathons MSNBC Cosplay Reality Competition VH1 Tumblr Watching Series Holidays Summer WGN TNT Superheroes cinemax RT History sports National Geographic Set visit Podcast Red Carpet Crackle ratings Winter TV Shondaland Lucasfilm Countdown Martial Arts zombie binge cults BBC America GIFs The Arrangement SundanceTV finale 2016 golden globes Certified Fresh Dark Horse Comics FOX Rom-Com The CW Pixar 2015 Writers Guild of America Musicals Showtime Oscars technology Comic Book YouTube Red SDCC 21st Century Fox Photos Netflix Thanksgiving Lionsgate See It Skip It CBS harry potter Extras DC Universe talk show cops E! PBS IFC Sci-Fi supernatural VICE psycho Marvel Starz Nominations discovery serial killer Universal Horror Box Office Sundance Now Disney Channel Drama Nickelodeon Britbox Acorn TV Action Disney Calendar FXX GoT Sundance IFC Films