Plot: PA get a spin-off centering around a group of Mexican friends, Jesse, Marisol and Hector. A suspected witch dies in her apartment and one of the group finds a mysterious bite on his arm…
Thoughts on the film:
• The film is aimed at the Latin America demo. Appreciated the new setting, a small Mexican apartment complex in Oxnard, California (as opposed to a white family in the suburbs)
• The film is shot in hand-held first person (instead of security footage)
• It’s very low budget with minor practical effects – this works well as when they do something it’s more impressive.
• One of the hallmarks of PA is obscuring your view so to build tension – there’s a series of semi-translucent sheets they walk through, and the protagonists (who aren’t cameramen) hold the camera lower and raise it up. It works, although poor camerawork isn’t that nice to look at.
• HORRENDOUS audio presentation – the film is apparently shot without a boom mic and the constant whispering is not levelated. You will watch the film with your remote in hand. It’s not scary, just frustrating.
• This film is not above nudity. Good! Peeping into next door’s apartment was quite funny.
• New gimmick – a magic gateway door, a ‘portal to only bad places’. Ok that sounds crap but it’s great.
• They communicate with the demon through a Simon Says machine. Very well used.
• Hector (the dumb friend) is keen to put himself in physical danger which is intentionally hilarious. Jesse’s family and friends do seem like nice, loving people.
• For most of the film it felt like this was unrelated to PA until they bought PA sequel rights! But that changes.
• FINALLY someone brings a gun to a knife fight!
• Well impressed that the lads can convince two pretty girls to get laid in a dilapidated ’empty’ murder house.
• They find items, locations relating to previous films which is pretty cool.
• The ending sequence was great. Doesn’t ‘fix’ the rest of the film but I loved it.
Overall: Better than the horrendous PA4 but you’re not missing anything here. Good tension and intentionally funny bits, but scares generally don’t hit the mark. Too much time spent faffing around with family in unnecessary scenes, so ultimately the film is quite slow moving and not that interesting. Strong finish though.
• Nods to previous films: Not going to the police for help, VHS tapes of Katie & Kristi as kids, demon version of them, black magic ritual items from the previous film, pic of Jesse’s mom with Katie & Kristi’s grandmother.
• Simon machine – It’s brilliant when they ask if it’s Jesse’s Guardian angel and it chimes “No.”.
• The thugs that hassle Jesse & Hector are real obvious plot devices to show off Jesse’s new ‘super-powers’.
• Demon kids and old women are not scary. Whatever initial fright from PA3 is long gone.
• The magic door – fantastic use! Warps back in time to Katie & Micah’s house.
• Street thugs bringing guns to the Coven farm was great. Flipped out when they started blowing the women away.