(out of 5)
This film series is a producer’s dream come true: hire unknown actors, use webcams and video cameras and make sure nothing happens for two hours, then watch as easily-duped audience members pour into the theatre and drop their cash on your cheap indie under the impression that they are going to see the next Blair Witch Project. This fourth entry in the annoyingly popular franchise begins with a kidnapping and double murder as a young boy is stolen from his home and his parents are killed, and he goes missing along with his aunt. Years later, a family of four invite a little boy to come and live with them after his single mother is taken to the hospital for an unspecified illness; the family’s son is thrilled to have a new playmate, but their teen daughter is creeped out by the boy’s vacant stare and quiet demeanour. When the eight million webcams she and her boyfriend have set up in the house start to pick up weird goings-on in the middle of the night, she begins to get very frightened for herself and her family; when we see the aunt from the prologue show up, I believe we’re supposed to get scared. Long, static scenes of very little drama or tension take ages to get themselves over with before the odd occurrence interrupts the boredom: a quick movement by a spectre, the odd flight of a big knife and, mostly, cheap shots at scares by throwing bumps on the soundtrack. The series is tired and it shows…someone should kidnap the filmmakers and force them to stop, particularly given that they are wasting the time of actors who are surprisingly too good for this kind of B-level crap.
Paramount Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Solana Films, Room 101
Cinematography by Doug Emmett
Production Design by Jennifer Spence
Costume Design by Leah Butler
Film Editing by Gregory Plotkin