If it’s October (and it’s not yet, but it’s darn close), then it must be time for more “Paranormal Activity.” Last night, a rough cut of the fourth film in the franchise made its debut at Fantastic Fest, and the marketing machine has consequently revved up with the release of a new trailer and an official timeline of the franchise’s events so far.
The new trailer is mostly more of the same and confirms what fans already knew: after a detour into prequel territory during the last outing, which jumped back to Katie (Katie Featherson) and Kristi’s (Sprague Grayden) childhood in 1988, part four is finally going to follow-up on the ending of the second film. That one ended with Katie abducting her infant nephew, Hunter, after killing most of her family while possessed by a demon.
As the trailer indicates, their whereabouts have been unknown until now, as the fourth film will pick up in 2011. Previous trailers indicated that Katie and Hunter would be moving across the street from a new family, where they would terrorize the teenage daughter (Kathryn Newton). However, this new look reveals that Hunter (now called Robbie, apparently) may be moving in with this new family after something happens to his “mom.”
From there, it looks like he’s going to terrorize this family from within, thus allowing the series to keep its “creepy kid” aspect intact from the last installment. It’s bad enough to deal with a poltergeist, but tossing the spiritual successor to Damien in just stacks the deck. Also, this trailer will do no favors for Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral, which is used to spooky effect here.
Furthermore, Dread Central has scored this exclusive series timeline that gives a fun look at the events up to and including “Paranormal Activity 4.” While this is mostly just a fun graphic organizer to keep track of the series, there’s an interesting bit of information to be found here. Instead of simply writing off Katie and Kristi’s mother, Julie, as dead, she’s listed as “presumed dead.”
This makes sense, as the previous entries in the franchise have actually made things a little unclear in this respect. Before part three bowed, Katie and Kristi simply spoke of their mother as if she went crazy, so perhaps the series still has something up its sleeve regarding this character.
Of course, don’t be too surprised if a lot of the stuff hinted at in this trailer ends up looking completely different once the final film hits. The series has a history of featuring scenes and beats in its trailers that don’t make it into the final cut, and, if last night’s screening at Fantastic Fest is any indication, part four is still very much a work in progress.