1980's Cannibal Holocaust took the mockumentary mold for horror, 1999's Blair Witch Project invigorated it for modern audiences, and 2007's Paranormal Activity blew it up into a Hollywood phenomenon. Now "found footage" horror is in its Renaissance, every no-budget filmmaker utilizing the lo-fi aesthetic to put audiences in the middle of the terror without needing a crazy slasher or dozens of special effects.
But is it still scary?
Paramount must think so, as they've just locked down the fifth entry in their defining PA franchise for a 2013 release date. In a press release, the studio announced that Paranormal Activity 5 will creep into theaters on Oct. 25, 2013, just in time for Halloween. It follows Paranormal Activity 4, which arrived on Oct. 19, 2013 and has since grossed $53.5 million domestically.
A spin-off of the series was previously announced for Spring 2013. The film, which focuses on Latino-American family (a demographic important to the PA series' success), was teased at the end of Paranormal Activity 4.
The conclusion of PA4 was ambiguous and striking enough to set up for a sequel — another family, another encounter with possessed Katie, another complication of the mythology that may not make any sense if you pick it apart but looks pretty cool on the big screen. With four entries under their belt, the filmmakers who sign on to helm PA5 will have a tricky task. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman returned from Paranormal Activity 3 to tackle the fourth entry and still found ways to be innovative within the format, through new technology and crazy plot twists. Whether they will return or producer Oren Peli (director of the original PA) will recruit a newcomer is unknown, but like all franchises, audiences become desensitized to the gimmick. Mining something new is an obvious challenge.
So what will scare you? Where does the Paranormal Activity franchise need to go, or has it finally stalled? The Saw series ran a solid seven entries, one a year from 2004 to 2010 before the money didn't make sense and producers called it quits. PA could (okay, more like "will") follow suit, churning out installments until they wear out the audience. But is tradition more important than quality? Will you see a Paranormal Activity every Halloween for old time's sake?
Leave all your thoughts on the future Paranormal Activity in the comments. With less than a year to develop the movie, you can be sure ears are open for suggestions.
[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures]
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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