Why didn't they just... ? and other second guessing.
The entity, for whatever reason, had to "physically" pass through the door and left footprints. So, why didn't they just bar the door with locks and barricade into the room? It might make a ruckus outside, but it wouldn't be able to get to them.
Umm... One, it's a demon. I don't think it would be stopped by a puny little barricade. Two, the characters pretty much stated that the only reason it left the footprints was to fuck with them, show it was real, and was only because it wanted to.
Nearly every night the characters go to sleep, they leave the bed room door open with Katie sleeping closest to the door. The night after the Demon walks into the room, stands right next to Katie's side of the bed (as evidenced by the foot prints), and "fiddles" with the sheets (as evidenced by the video recording of that night), they go to sleep with The Door Open and Katie Sleeping Closest To The Door! You'd think that even if they weren't going to leave, Micah might suggest they switch positions in bed, possibly close the door and lock it. They both knew it was there, even if it could smash the door open or walk through walls, no sense making it easy on the damn thing! But NOOOOO, even after the Demon DRAGS KATIE OUT OF BED KICKING AND SCREAMING, INTO THE HALLWAY, AND BITES HER ON THE LEG....
I think it is pretty obvious that the demon doing anything physical, is entirely by his choice. The damn thing left those footprints not because Micah "caught" him , but simply to mess with them.
So, by the end of the movie shit got real. Why didn't they at least call this esteemed demonologist for survival tips or ways to curb the entity's threat and power, or at least stop pissing it off? Anything to buy time until he arrived.
They waited too late. They tried the ghost expert, but he couldn't do anything. And when they finally decided to call the demonologist, he was out of town. As for the pissing it off, they were WAAYY past that point.
So, here's the real question- what, exactly, was so special about that one particular demonologist that he was the only one who could keep things from going all pear-shaped? Seriously, it's not like there's a shortage or something.
This Troper is fairly sure that demonologists aren't that common. Priests, on the other hand...
You are correct, dear Troper. I have only heard of one person call themselves a demonologist who was not affiliated with a church. And since Micah and Katie were agnostic, they wouldn't have called a priest anyway.
They were already told how to not piss it off, and Micah did the exact opposite of everything he was told.
So basically the explanation is "they were too stupid to do anything else?" That's not really good scriptwriting, then...
Not bad scriptwriting, just a creative decision - they did not want to make another exorcism movie. They could have gone for the 'fraudulent demonologist' spin though I'm not sure it would have made the movie better.
Too many things in horror movies are written off as 'stupid', as if all main characters should always only do the most sensible thing. Micah was being made to feel like he can't protect from the demon - in his own words, the house is his house, and Katie is his girlfriend, and he wants to protect them. He's not stupid, just scared and emasculated, and not an expert on demons.
When you're explicitly told not to antagonize the supernatural hellbeast and then double up your efforts to do it anyway, that is pretty damn stupid. In fact, there's a trope for that.
Reality Is Unrealistic, there would be a fair number of poeple who would antagonize the supernatural hellbeast for a varity of reasons (spite, disbelief, just wanting to see the world burn, etc.).
That still doesn't make you less of an idiot. No matter what reason you intentionally jettison all common sense for, there's still no logical reason to do it other than "they needed to for there to be a movie."
Except for the fact that, as has already been said, it is the natural reaction of human beings in frightening and overwhelming situations, which just follows from the whole premise of the film: a fly-on-the-wall account of two normal people (not film protagonists) in such a situation. And normal people make terrible, illogical decisions and do things they explicitly shouldn't when faced with the kind of pressures which the demon applies. If the filmmakers had wanted characters that behave unnaturally, they wouldn't have bothered with the "This Is Reality" setup of the Found Footage style.
It became fairly obvious that, as the entity kept causing sleep depravation and their fatigue increased, it grew more powerful. So, why didn't they try adapting their schedules to sleep during the day and stay awake at night? If it can't steal sleep, then they'll at least have the strength to face it.
It got stronger through sleep deprivation? News to me. I interpreted it as the demon getting stronger the more it decided to stop bullshitting around and take Katie, with the fatigue being caused by staying up after each "encounter".
it might not get stronger from sleep deprivation but any person deprived of sleep is certainly weaker.
Uh-uh, that's the genius of the demon, really. The ghost psychologist guy says at the beginning that the demon feeds off of negative emotions. The more the demon fucked around with Katie and Micah, the more angry, scared and paranoid they got toward each other and the situation in general. The demon's whole plan was to get Katie into a state where it could take her over; as it got more powerful (and as Micah gave it more and more "avenues" to work with), it ramped up the scare tactics until Katie was a completely suitable vessel for possession...
Besides, nothing said that the demon had to be active only at night. A few things did happen in the daytime... Namely, the picture breaking and Katie's possession.
Did either of them ever hear of a church? This troper would've slept in one and bathed in holy water.
Seconded so hard. I mean, they live in LA, right? There's got to be a dozen churches within easy distance. As soon as they realized it was a demon, they should have booked to a church and gotten an exorcist or twelve.
I recall in the beginning that it was stated that Micah and Katie were either agnostic or atheists. The problem with calling a priest when you aren't of that faith is that the exorcism may not work, since you aren't a believer in that particular religion. That goes doubly for an atheist or agnostic, and can even be seen as hypocritical. Or at least, that's what I've been, er, told.
The first one takes place somewhere in or around San Diego and the second one takes place in Carlsbad.
If I remember correctly, there's no clear indication in the movie that exorcisms work or that demons are weakened by Christian symbols, so it may not have even helped.
If the demon had access to Hunter for days, why did it take so long for his soul to be "harvested"? If it had to have physical possession of a body, okay, but then why didn't Demon!Kristi! take him while possessed in the last 15 minutes of the film?
It may be that the demon is weak after possession. It takes a lot of time in haunting before it can possess Kristi, so it may have needed time to feed on energy or whatever spirits do, before it was powerful enough to actually take over a body. Add that to the fact that Kristi is likely the first person the demon has possessed in a long time, if it's following this family, and you end up with a demon that probably needed time to get its strength back up. In the meantime, it was protective of Hunter, keeping Ali away from him, and by the time Dan had called in Martine, the demon was strong enough to fight Dan off, at which point it took Hunter into the basement, presumably with the intention of leaving with Hunter as soon as it could kill the rest of the family. Unfortunately for it, that's the point at which it's forced into Katie.
Why did the demon seem to "live" in the basement if it's a noncorporeal entity? I can understand "living" in the house to have constant access to the family, but why the basement? Did it just want to "live" in a place that inspires fear in people to make it stronger?
I'm not too sure why, but according to a great many Real Life stories of demonic hauntings, demons tend to dwell (or hide, or mainly inhabit) basements or belowground rooms. This counts as a case of Shown Their Work here.
In Paranormal Activity 3, why did Witch!Grandma and the demon have the mom killed? If this was in fact the same demon from the first two movies, and grandma was complicit in the whole thing, it seems like it would make more sense to "turn" mommy in to a witch as well, or at least do whatever they ended up doing to the two girls. It seemed more like they were trying more to make a scary ending and half-explain things than for it all to make logical sense.
The whole point of the demon working with the family is to get a son. The mother already said she had no intention of having anymore kids, and the father showed he was against whatever plot grandma had. In order to get what they want, they would have to brainwash two adults who are very hostile to the demon. Not only are children easier to manipulate, but they both have a chance of having a son later in life. And the children weren't really hostile to the demon; one made the demon her imaginary friend, and the other was probably so scared shitless that she went along with it, neither of them really fought the demon like the adults did. This demon doesn't care about getting a lot of recruits; whoever shows resistance to it, it just kills. Unlike the other movies, the leading woman didn't roll over in negativity, she seemed just as hostile as the leading man, and so she gets the same fate as the leading man.
Now this troper is wondering why Lois had them sleep in separate beds at her house. Obviously by then it seemed like it sunk in that she wasn't getting a grandson, but it seems to be implied that she's always kept them that way when they stayed over. I might think she would try to encourage more sexual practice.
PA 4: why didn't Alex call the police? She had a phone and it obviously worked!
Why didn't Alex show her dad the video of her being locked in the garage or at least mention the existence of the video. It's a massive over-sight in the found footage concept.
Micah: new poster child for Too Dumb to Live, anyone? He kept pretty much provoking the damn thing, even when he knew it was real and dangerous. There's a difference between bravery and stupid bravado.
Really, why the hate-on for Micah? What was he supposed to do? He tried to solve the problem, which is more than we can ever say for Katie, who's a complete idiot in every way. She tries to solve the problem with a medium, but freaks the hell out when Micah brings a Ouija board. She's told specifically that running won't help but that's the only thing she's ever tried in her life. If Micah's too dumb to live for any reason, it's because he decided to stick with the girl. Nothing else he could do would have saved him.
He didn't try to solve the problem, he continued to provoke it to doing things. Which is also what a Ouija board does. Meet up with anyone who believes in spirituality/wicca/etc, and everyone will tell you Ouija boards are bad news because they just invite all energies to come forward. A medium just reads the energy in the air, it doesn't make shit worse until the thing is powerful enough, as evidenced near the end. Not to mention Micah was antagonizing her and the demon for the first half of the movie, and makes damn stupid decisions the second half so he's a jackass to boot.
Seconded. Micah is the one who makes the problem worse. He tells Katie not to call the demonologist, talks to the demon, buys a Ouija board...this Troper is going to say that a lot of the stuff that happens in the movie is his fault.
Given the second and third movies show us where the demon comes from and what it actually wanted, Micah's pissing it off probably didn't do all that much. This is something that burned down their house in the past. It has, in fact, gotten that bad before then. All the demon did was show Micah the extent of its power...
He's also a major JERK, because he kept toying and making fun of the entity without thinking that this entity was after his girlfriend. And Katie? Was she into self-harming or what? Why didn't she just move out? The demon would still be after her, but she wouldn't have an asshole who kept on messing things for her.
What good would leaving do? One less person who believes her, a demon that's more violent and sadistic than ever, and all professionals being too scared to help, what could leaving possibly do to improve her situation?
For one, she wouldn't be put in danger by an asshole who only wants to record something cool.
Regardless, that wouldn't stop the demon from eventually possessing her. Whether she leaves or stays, she's screwed.
And then there's the whole "it's-only-after-me-thing". Sure, Micah is a jerk, but he is her boyfriend and you have to assume that she loves him. Since the demon would follow her if she moved, it would at least make sure Micah was left alone. One would think that his safety would be quite important to his girlfriend.
Have you seen the way she treats him? She's only in it for the perceived money.
Personally, I wasn't convinced that either one of them loved the other. People have relationships and get married for reasons other than love. "Not wanting to be alone", "sex" and "money" are a few of those other reasons.
Hey, her leaving would have saved him at least. Since her continued survival in the sequels kills even more people, really the best thing she could have done was to kill herself. I would pay money to see that, especially after all the tropers act like she's completely blameless and Micah is a jerkass who gets himself killed. No, really, I hate this character of hers. HE is a jerk? She's an absolute bitch who screams at him for not immediately jumping to "ghost attack", and then screams at him even more as soon as he accepts it as a possibility and tries to solve something. What could he have done? Nothing, really, except leave her. But then a bunch of tropers would of course hate out on him even more for it: No matter what Micah does, it's wrong! Katie never once did anything wrong of course, she's perfect and justified in every action of hers.
But a lot of what Micah did was wrong. He disregarded the psychic's advice completely, and ended up antagonizing the demon and giving it energy, and on top of that, he refused to accept any help until it was way too late. Katie's not entirely blameless, but Micah has a lot of the fault here.
I wouldn't say she's "perfect and justified" but between the two Micah is still the bigger asshole. His tone and demeanor throughout most of the film make it pretty obvious that, while he may be trying to help, he's completely unwilling to listen to any advice, or even realize that his actions are frightening his girlfriend, and is entirely too interested in getting things on camera (even asking if Katie can "make it happen." Seriously, dude, you want her to try to induce something that terrifies her?). Besides, most of his "help" consisted of doing just about everything he could to aggravate the demon, despite everyone telling him to stop. To be honest, I would probably be just as angry with him in Katie's shoes. At least she had the sense to keep saying, "Let's not piss it off anymore." Katie did have her moments (perhaps the biggest offender being not telling Micah about the demon before moving in together), but Micah's are much more blatantly stupid.
Would it really matter how great a boyfriend Micah is? If he were more protective of Katie, it would probably provoke the demon all the same, and he may have died even sooner.
Not necessarily. Though what it *would* have done is made more of the audience have sympathy for Micah and Katie, and thus make more people have an emotional investment in whether they made it out alive and intact or not. The fact that they didn't make it should have been tragic. At least for this Troper, it wasn't.
Well, in the third movie Dennis actually is protective, relatively reasonable, and sympathetic. And compared to the way it messed with Micah and targeted the girls, the demon downright ignores him up until the very end.
Something that really confused this troper, when he is fully aware that something of the demonic persuasion was trying to possess his girlfriend, what does he do? Throws a frickin' cross into the fireplace! Seriously? What's that going to do? Other than piss off the one entity left who could probably help you?
The entity that could have helped him? what was it going to do kick his front door down and stand there in a macho pose with a red head band on and say "I kick ass for the Lord!." and then work over the Demonic force in the house?.
I'm going to go write that fanfic now! :D
This troper would love to see that fanfic.
It could have helped them if they both weren't already agnostic/atheistic and apparently not willing to change that belief despite being confronted by the supernatural.
Considering that Katie was clutching the cross so hard that her hand was bleeding, and she suddenly began acting funny again after he found her with it, Micah had at least some reason to be suspicious of it.
Also true. This troper isn't quite sure what to think about that cross—on the one hand, maybe Katie was using it as a last resort, and Micah's burning it actually made things worse. On the other, Katie was bleeding, and it's possible that the demon was just messing with Micah.
This is assuming that in the Paranormal Activity universe, Christianity is true. Christianity isn't the only belief system that acknowledges demons, after all. Maybe a Wiccan ritual would have banished the demon instead of a cross. Maybe God and his Prophet Muhammad could have. Still, as an atheist/agnostic myself, I would not remain so if I were confronted with this sort of thing, and I would show the evidence to a pastor immediately. If that didn't work, just try other religions until something works.
Imagine you are stuck in a house with Micah for three years, not being able to leave or touch anything but listen to him constantly 24 hours a day since he doesn't even have a job to make him leave the damn house. Oh, and you're a supernatural entity who cannot sleep, cannot entertain yourself, and can barely move a set of keys around. Oh, and he plays guitar, badly. Now imagine after three years of this hellish existence this jerkoff starts calling you names and whining about you and insulting you. That's the real Fridge Horror of this movie. Who wouldn't want to carve him up at that point?
The demon wasn't shown to be hanging around Katie when she was with Micah until that last month though, which shows just how damn annoying he really was.
This Troper now subscribes to this theory.
This troper found Dan to be an even bigger jerkass than Micah. Okay, not really, but seriously, his daughter shows him the tape, the door slams shut for no fucking reason but oh, it's just "the wind." Even if it had come in through the windows, it would have to be a relatively strong wind to blow the door shut!
And even if he could convince himself that it was just the wind, how could he have explained the door locking on its own?
To be fair, he was still supremely angry at Ali for going outside by herself in the middle of the night - a reasonable reaction from a parent. That said, the door not only slamming closed, but locking on its own should have had him at least inspecting the doors to see if they were in proper working order. That's a safety hazard there, Dan.
This Troper was more bothered by the fact that Dan didn't seem to care how terrified Ali was after locking herself out of the house. Maybe it's because this troper isn't a parent, but I sympathized way more with Ali than with Dan.
In the fourth movie after Ali reversed the car through the garage door why did Dan just send Her to bed instead of trying to get an explanation for what just happened?
The footprints in the flour. Judging by their size, the demon/whatever seems to be about four feet tall. Adorable!
How do you judge its height based on their size? Are you referring to their depth? And keep in mind that the demon could leave footprints of any depth according to its preference, and if you could see what the demon looked like it would not be adorable, even if it was only four feet tall.
You have a point. I don't think anthropologists can guess a person's height from the size of their feet—I'm pretty sure they need a leg bone or something else for that. Also, not everyone who is tall has big feet—my entire family (except my mother) has smaller than average feet despite the fact that most of us are taller than average. Thanks, Dad!
It had three toes. I'm going to guess not adorable, unless it looked like some sort of miniature Big Bird.
It had three toes, about for feet tall, a complete and total SOB... are you sure the demon isn't freeza from dragon ball Z?
Remember, the original depiction of demons (before they were associated with Greek Gods like Pan) gave them bird's feet rather than a cloven hoof. Trying to judge height based on the size of the feet might not work as well as it could using human proportions.
In the fourth movie, the Kinect's tracking dots DO outline a pint-sized, child-shaped entity, even when the children aren't looking at it. Who says demons have to be large to be menacing?
That was a damn fine house they lived in. How in God's name did they afford that place? Micah was the only one with a job if I recall correctly. Were their parents paying for it? Did they inheirit it? I know in real life it's the director's house but still....
Micah was playing the stockmarket. Maybe the Demon bought some shares from him that ended up losing their value and took it exceptionally hard.
This troper figures he's some sort of conman. It explains quite a lot about him, actually...
If we take what was said in the prequel as true, it is quite possible that Katie was from a relatively wealthy family. Apparently, some ancestor of Katie made a deal with the demon of giving her firstborn for wealth, or something of the sort. Since the prequel was all about the demon trying to receive the payment for its services, we can conclude that it kept its side of the bargain. So yeah, it's quite possible that she inherited it, or her family helped her purchase it, etc etc etc.
The house they live in is the director's house, and when he lived there, he lived alone. So this is kinda Truth in Television.
when he comes home with the camera, Katie asks him how much it costs and he says something like, "About half of what I made today." If that's an indication of what he makes on a normal day, then he makes a fair amount of money as a day trader.
Sure, if they moved to another house the new people wouldn't believe them. But if they woke up in the middle of the night to find their new tenant being dragged down the hall by absolutely nothing whatsoever, then they -would- believe...
And how would that have helped the situation?
Maybe the neighbor would be more sensible than either Micah or Katie and would call an exorcist.
Did anybody else think the "scary noises" in the middle of the night just sounded like the demon was playing the drums? It seemed less like a threatening presence in the house and more like an annoying roommate.
I had a similar thought, specifically "NEIL PERT'S BECOME A VENGEFUL SPIRIT!!"
Sure it wasn't Keith Moon? It'd explain why he trashed the house in the sequel.
To me it sounded more like someone walking around a house in the middle of the night and slamming their foot into one thing after another while trying not to curse outloud.
The fact that the entity is explicitly stated to be a demon rather than a ghost. Maybe this is just personal preference. Ghost? Scary. Demon? A little too far out of the realm of possibility for me to willingly suspend my disbelief. Same reason I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the Ghost Hunters during the first couple of seasons when they'd start talking about "demonic" hauntings as opposed to the other kind.
What? I'm not trying to be rude, but that stament is very confusing. Could you please clarify so that I can make an appropriate response?
They're saying that they couldn't take the movie seriously because it's a lot easier for them to believe in a ghost than a demon. Definitely a personal thing, for some people it's the other way around.
If it makes you feel better, just assume that demon means "Inherently evil ghost"
No it does not. In the context of this movie a "ghost" means the spirit of a former living human being. AFAICR when the ghost expert says the entity is a demon, he even adds "for lack of a better word". He doesn't mean that it's a red scaly creature with horns and a tail that serves the Prince of Darkness. He just made clear this being is not a "ghost" per se since it is not now nor was it ever human... it's something else.
Essentially, yes. Also, Fair Folk. The problem with trying to understand the psychology of something that is not and never has been human is that we are and always have been human. This automatically and permanently renders us incapable of understanding its wants and needs. This is the first lesson in theoretical xenopsychology — trying to guess how aliens would act, should we ever meet them. Now back to the Eldritch Abomination portion, we don't even know which rules of physics apply to it and which don't. For all we know there could be a "just as scared of you as you are of him" situation in effect. Rewatch the movie. Go into it with the mindset of someone who found Micah's body and is trying to figure out what happened. Then come back here and discuss.
I just took "demon" as meaning "negative psychic force", which worked for the first movie, but went right out the window when they start talking about deals with evil in the sequel.
I always assumed it meant an incorporeal entity packing a lot of bad mojo.
Spoilers just to be safe. In the first movie, Katie flips out when Micah finds an old picture of her because it was supposed to be destroyed in a house fire. So how is Dan able to retrieve and burn the picture in the second movie?
(Spoiler tags are generally not needed on IJBM pages, btw.) The second movie—at least up to the point where Katie appears and murders Dan and Kristi—is a prequel, not a sequel. Early in the movie, Kristi finds the photo in an album and remarks on it, and Dan later burns it, apparently as part of the ritual meant to pass the demon from Kristi to Katie. Why it wasn't burned completely at that point, I can't tell you, but there's your answer.
But then wouldn't Katie have known the picture wasn't burned up in the house fire in the first movie? Wasn't she there when they rediscovered the picture in an old photo album in the prequel? I can't remember if she was present or not.
Nope, Katie wasn't there when they found it. As far as we knew, they forgot about it what with all the crazy going on.
As for why it wasn't burned completely — probably for the same reason that it was in Katie and Micah's crawlspace when it should have still been at Kristi and Dan's house: The demon did it.
I got the impression it was part of the spell. That Dan didn't have to incinerate the photo, just expose it to flame, then stash it somewhere in the household of the subject of the spell.
I agree with the line above. Burning the photo a bit was part of the spell and Dan sneaking it into the attic above Katie's bed was probably part of the spell, which gave some retroatcive meaning to the original film.
What exactly did the ouija board spell out in the first movie?
"Aaaahahaha, you're not going to have sex with me because I made a crude joke on the ouija board. Never mind, let's keep going and I'll try something else later. Sure I'll keep my hands on the cursor and ignore that we just asked the entity what it wants."
<Long, meaningful shot of Hunter's room while the kids continue to laugh downstairs. Fade to black.>
In the first movie, it spelled "Diane", a name that Micah looks up, discovering that a woman named Diane was possessed as well. Possibly by the same demon?
The boyfriend was jokingly spelling "PUSSY" on his own. When he stopped goofing off, the demon started spelling "HUNTER," but the kids took their hands off the board before it could spell teh rest of it, which led to the joke about "pussy hunt."
Not a gripe against the movie, but more of feeling bad for Ali. I just think it's a damn shame that she found the footage of the door slamming shut, but not of Hunter begin pulled out of his crib. Her dad might have believed her much sooner if that had been the case. Though since she only knew about the door, it makes sense that that's what she was searching for.
Why do the movies have to focus on the same family? Can't the sequels move on to other isolated cases of paranormal activity?
Because the entire film series is focused on how Katie's family has to deal with the demon, and why. Which is explained in the third one.
A better question is why did three members of the same family independently come up with the same unlikely solution (film everything) to the problem, and have the resources on hand to pull it off?
That solution was what they came up with in the first one. I think that was to give it a feel like Blair Witch and to make it seem like it was based on a true story. This is probably also the reason they left the credits off the end to leave a little room for doubt for anyone who has a chance to believe that's the case. As for the second movie, they added the cameras to the house in response to the break-in and vandalism that happene when they were away. That seems like a logical response to me. It was only after weird things started happening, like the pool cleaner ending up out of the water all the time, that they decided to review what the cameras saw.
Yeah, the camera thing seems particularly odd since it's not a trait shared by the people who are actually related to one another (and who could therefore be argued as a shared familial interest or mindset of some kind) but by the men in their lives.
In the first two movies, there's one scene each where Micah and Kristi (or Katie, can't remember which) talking about Katie/Kristi's mother as if she's still alive (Micah jokes that she should stop coming to visit when the paranormal expert tells them to minimize negative energy, Katie/Kristi warns the other sister that worrying too much about the demon will lead them to "end up like mom."). Yet the third movie has the mother die. Plot hole?
It was mentioned on the WMG page that she could possibly be alive.
What is the demon going to do with Hunter? Also, why did it have to be a son?
Traditionally, most cultures considered the first born son to be the most "valuable" child. Even if it didn't matter to the demon, persay, the Grandma might have still specified "firstborn son" when she summoned it.
What would have happened if Katie and Kristi were sterile? Or if they both died before having children? What would the demon do if there was no way for the grandma to repay her debt?
Probably, and I'd hope, kill the bitch.
Or it decided to punish the rest of humanity. It did so by making sure these films got released. After all, having to watch these films is quite a terrible fate...
Is there a reason Dennis didn't try to turn any lights on in the last scene of the third movie? Obviously there is Rule of Scary, but it didn't even seem to occur to him. Wouldn't it be easier to find his family with a little more illumination?
For that matter, why didn't he just start kicking the ever living piss out of the old witches when he came across them?
It's probably not a good idea to try to kick a bunch of women who have the demons on their side.
This series pretty much requires people to be total morons in order to do half the things they do. Explains why they all end up dead, though.
Maybe he couldn't find the light switches? Maybe they weren't working at the time? Maybe the demon psychically prevented him from thinking to do so?
Or maybe he didn't want said bunch of women with the demons on their side to find either him or the children. Considering how badly he wants to protect them, making sure those after him aren't able to see them would be logical. How that would help with a supernatural being, however, is another problem.
Or he was, you know, a human being. Sure, old ladies aren't the epitome of "dangerous," but how did most people react when the scene occurred—turning on the lights to see a bunch of creepy women (billed as such, too) staring at you and beginning to pursue you?
Basically, I took it as him panicking. The demon doesn't actually do things specifically to Dennis until the end, after all - he just sees stuff happening to other people on his tapes. 'Toby' messes more with the girls' babysitter than it does him, so he kind of gets slammed head-first into the maelstrom of fear and chaos at the end there, whereas previously he'd just been an outside observer.
At the end of the second movie, it says Ali came home from a trip on the 12th (or something like that) to find her family had been murdered. By this time, they would have been dead for four days. Isn't that a little odd for someone so close to her family and someone who likes to spend time on the phone?
If the demon granted a wish to the grandmother in return for the first born male, why did the demon burn the house down when Katie and Kristie were kids and risk killing them in the process?
I don't think they ever explicitly state who started the fire. My theory at the moment is that the coven did it, to pin Dennis' (and potentially Julie's) death(s) on the house fire.
In regards to the fourth movie... Who. The. Fuck. Was. Robbie?!
Judging by the amount of young inductees in the coven, shown in the climax when Alex is killed, he's probably the child of one of them, raised within the demon's influence.
No one really knows. Popular theories are it is Tobi or, more likely, another demon disguising as a child. A golem as the statue at the end that Wyatt/Hunter is standing next to resembles Robbie. Or another child born of the coven who may have completed the ritual.
Another about the fourth movie: Was the implication that the child Kristi and Dan had was switched at birth with the real Hunter or something? Or did Katie somehow lose Hunter after she took him?
Hunter was never switched at birth. Wyatt is Hunter. Sometime after Paranormal Activity 2, Katie placed Hunter under adoption. There are many theories as to why this happened. The first is that it is believed Hunter needed to be grown in a 'normal' environment before whatever ritual the coven wants him to partake in can be done. This, to me, makes little sense with the events in PA 2. The demon possessed Kristi and would have continued raising Hunter there if her husband never transferred the curse over to Katie. The second theory is that Possessed!Katie had to let go of Hunter as the police were probably chasing her down for the murders and kidnapping. Hunter could be raised in an environment that would not be connected to Katie or the coven and she could always find him again.
This is something I noticed in the third and fourth movie; apparently the demon is vulnerable to grown men. Think about it; apart from the first one, in which the demon was probably as annoyed with Micah as the audience was, in the second one, Katie kills Dan first, in the third, Dennis manages to put up quite a fight, and in the fourth Alex says that Doug was the only one who could make Wyatt/Hunter get out of his trances. It kind of makes sense, since the cult is apparently made up of only women and women can get possessed quite easily.
Why exactly was Alex filming everything at the beginning of PA 4? The very beginning with the soccer game can be overlooked as family footage, but a lot of other things, like most of the dialogue with Ben and Alex, are filmed without an explanation. This is done a bit in the earlier movies, but the lack of reasoning stuck out more in the latest film.
PA 4: What was the whole deal with the knife? It disappeared and then flashily reappeared... but didn't seem to serve any particular purpose.
Toby enjoys messing around with people just For the Evulz. It's been his MO since the first movie.
Not really, his MO is to create an unsafe atmosphere, making people feel vulnerable so that their fear empowers him. Hence the progressive attacks in the first two movies. He gains power, establishes himself within the house's threshold, and then strikes for the kill. In PA 2, for example, he does things that cannot be otherwise explained, such as moving the pool floater, turning on the stove, and slamming/locking the front door. It makes the target family feel stalked by a predator. Here, though, the knife doesn't accomplish anything. It confuses the mother and startles the father, but that's it, it doesn't build to any conclusion. It just scares the audience.