Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Preston Barta // Editor
The common theme you’ll notice with both THE LAST WITCH HUNTER and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION is you go in with low expectations. This is the sixth film in the franchise for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, while the other is a movie about witch hunting starring Vin Diesel. However, we go in with the hope that they’ll surprise us and wind up being something actually fun. Perhaps we will find them to be tasty junk-food style of films. The kind that don’t win awards, deserve high critic scores, and just tell amusing stories for the next hour and a half.
For both films, they shockingly setup up something interesting and compelling. THE LAST WITCH HUNTER takes on this serious tone within the first 20 minutes that has you going, “Hmm. Maybe this will actually be worth my time,” while THE GHOST DIMENSION establishes this stupid-comedy that actually works– if you ignore the sloppy acting.
When it comes to genre films like this it’s important to check your critic-cap at the door. You know going in that it’s going to have problems, whether it’s logistics or things that flat-out insult your intelligence. And let me say, there’s a lot of that going around in both features.
Although, as expected, what starts off not too bad ends poorly for both. THE LAST WITCH HUNTER has twists and turns along the way in terms of story and character, yet audiences can spot them a mile away. So, while it ends the way it does and goes where it does, it’s still a film you can stick on in the background on a rainy day (like today) when it hits On-Demand platforms.
THE GHOST DIMENSION, on the other hand, adds nothing new to the franchise. In fact, the best thing about it is it’s over and it finished what it set out to do.
The first three parts of franchise were not too bad, with the first chapter, obviously, being the best– mainly due to the fact that it took us by surprise and showed us that good films can be made on a dime and they don’t need star power. Simple is effective.
The biggest problem with the latter half of the franchise is it tries to do too much. What started as an uncomplicated story of ghosts and demon-latching turned to witches, cults, and time jumping. It really is something out of AMERICAN HORROR STORY where it’s just a melting pot of horror sub-genres.
THE GHOST DIMENSION stirs all these elements up but doesn’t know when to take it out of the oven, and let’s just say, it should have been long ago.
THE LAST WITCH HUNTER and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION are both playing in theaters nationwide today, just in time for Halloween. If you’re insistent on going to one of these and are feeling something more fun, action-y and stupid, THE LAST WITCH HUNTER is the way to go. If you’re wanting to see how the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise ends, need some cheap jump-scares and something even more stupid, then THE GHOST DIMENSION is your film. Just know, really, both will leave you disappointed in the end and with less money in your pocket; however, they’ll also leave you laughing from their absurdity in the company of good people. So, there’s that.
Trailer for THE LAST WITCH HUNTER:
Trailer for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION: