Even at their best, the films in the unlikely "Paranormal Activity" franchise are never exactly thrilling, but they have cannily managed to wring more scares out of empty rooms than previously thought possible.
The newest film in the found-footage horror series, "Paranormal Activity 4," continues that tradition, picking up in story terms where the second film left off. (The third movie was set in the 1980s and hinted at the origins of the demon bedeviling an unfortunate family.)
A brief recap of that film's finale — in which the possessed Katie (Katie Featherston) disappeared with her infant nephew, Hunter — opens the proceedings before moving forward five years to introduce a family living in a Nevada suburb: disconnected dad (Stephen Dunham), harried mom (Alexondra Lee), young son Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp), gamin teenage daughter Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her boyfriend (Matt Shively).
After a creepy neighbor boy named Robbie (Brady Allen) comes to stay with them for a few days, weird things begin to happen around the house. When Katie suddenly appears, it implies that Robbie is, in fact, Hunter, though it seems she has some dark designs on young Wyatt.