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One would think that any lawsuit over Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s Paranormal Activity 4 would be from the directors’ own Paranormal Activity 3, thanks to the fourth film running the franchise into the ground while boring the shit out of viewers.
But today there was a much more practical lawsuit filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Michael Costanza, writer and director of the zero-budget 2002 independent horror film The Collingswood Story, has filed a claim against Paramount Pictures as well as producers of the Paranormal Activity franchise, stating that he presented sections Collingswood to the studio in 2010 for a pitch meeting that ended with his material being turned away, and that portions of the fourth entry of the found footage horror series are almost exactly the same as the ideas he brought to them.
If you haven’t seen The Collingswood Story and you’re a fan of horror, it’s definitely worth the watch, and its faults can easily be attributed to the minimal amount of money that went into it. Using only the point of view of a webcam, it tells the story of a long distance relationship between a guy and a girl who left him and her hometown behind for college. A strange website leads them to a psychic that predicts strange things, and then of course strange things happen. It's worth noting that the whole found footage craze, started by The Blair Witch Project, only began a couple years before Costanza's film was released, and Paranormal Activity 4 came ten years later, had a $5 million budget, and is part of one of the most derivative film series to ever exist. Good thing I’m not the judge, right?
Costanza is suing for unspecified damages, and part of the suit includes Paramount destroying all material based on any of his concepts. Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity 5 is scheduled to be in theaters on October 25th. Check out the trailer for The Collingswood Story below and judge Costanza's case for yourself.