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  • Writer's pictureRob Freese

ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 19

ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 19

Charles Dickens started it with the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future Christmases, so now spirits are an ingrained part of the season. But there is plenty of room in the season for more traditional ghostly types. You don't have to be Ebenezer Scrooge to experience a holiday haunting.

Warning: Spoiler Alert! Much like our Day 18 selection, this is a sequel. This is Part 5, so even if you haven't seen this chapter, you have seen this movie if you have seen any of the others in the series. Plus, it's a found footage flick. There's nothing to spoil, but if you haven't seen it and don't want anything ruined, avert your eyes now.

ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar December 19- Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension 3D (2015)

The Twelve Days of Christmas are gearing up when Uncle Mike (Dan Gill) arrives for an extended holiday visit. Brother Ryan (Chris J. Murray) is glad to see his bro but wife Emily (Brit Shaw) wonders why Mike doesn't have a job or a place to stay. Niece Leila (Ivy George) is excited to see her favorite uncle.

While decorating the exterior of the house, Ryan finds an old camcorder and a box of VHS tapes. Further exploring reveals tapes of two little girls who were left in the care of a weirdo who is seemingly teaching them how to harness their psychic powers.

When Ryan gets the ancient camera working, he begins to record some strange occurrences in their home. In fact, it seems that he is capturing "paranormal activity" and further investigation reveals that the camcorder is a custom job, made to records ghosts.

Before long little Liela is talking to an imaginary friend named Toby and acting like she's possessed. (A priest is brought in to check her out.)

Ryan and Mike set up cameras throughout the house to capture any spirits traipsing about.

Not only do they get proof of paranormal activity, they piss Toby off. Toby has opened a dimensional door in Leila's bedroom which leads to the ghost dimension.

Just like Poltergeist (1982), Ryan and Emily try to keep their daughter from being lost to the Other Side.

I'll be honest with you, I don't believe in ghosts. If I want to see spirits I'll go to a bar. But the Paranormal Activity movies consistently creep the hell out of me. Part 5 combines two of my favorite movie gimmicks- cheap jump scares and expensive dimensional photography.

Flick uses the 3D gimmick to its advantage and in a manner that would make William Castle proud as hell. Just like the Ghost Viewers from 13 Ghosts (1960), the 3D in this film is used to reveal the "Ghost Dimension." The movie plays out in 2D, but when the special camcorder is in play, the film switches to 3D and it is a spectacular effect. Once you get wise to how the flick is playing it's spooky 3D hokum, you can almost take the glasses off and wait for the wash of static to appear that indicates the 3D camera is in play. (Much like The Mask from 1961. "Put the glasses on.")

Of course, without a 3D set up, the film still works flat, especially if you're like me and jump all through these flicks. (There is an extended, Unrated version too.)

The Christmas setting gives the footage a disturbing "close to home" ambiance. The Paranormal Activity movies thrive because they trade on that common "this could be your house" vibe, but with the decorated house, it adds an extra level to the creep factor. Seeing a quiet front room, the lights on the tree blinking innocently, just gives the whole thing an extra punch. It makes you wonder if weird shit doesn't happen in your front room with the Christmas lights blinking when you're not around.

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