The film opens with a scene from the end of Paranormal Activity 3, set in 1988, where Katie and Kristi watch as Dennis' spine is crushed by a mysterious force. Grandma Lois takes the girls upstairs while the same entity takes the camera with them. They all go into a dark room where a man speaks to the girls about "Toby" and how they are critically important to his plan.
Twenty-five years later in 2013, Ryan Fleege (Chris J. Murray), his wife Emily (Brit Shaw), and their six-year-old daughter Leila (Ivy George) are about to celebrate Christmas, when Ryan's brother Mike (Dan Gill) moves in after breaking up with his girlfriend. Along with them, is Skylar (Olivia Taylor Dudley), who notices that Leila is talking to an imaginary friend named Toby. While setting up the house that day, Mike finds a box of old video tapes, dating from 1988 to 1992. In them contains videos of Kristi and Katie with their mother and her boyfriend Dennis in 1988, while others from 1992 are in Lois's house where the two are practicing supernatural abilities with the mysterious man. While watching one of the videos, Ryan and Mike notice that the girls are seemingly aware of the two's presence: they are able to foresee Ryan and Mike's every action as the pair simultaneously watch the video.
Leila's interactions with Toby coincides with Ryan using the old camera around the house, where he notices the camera picks up spiritual beings. He later decides to roll the tapes overnight to see what weird things are occurring. One night, a black figure arises out of the ground and hovers over Leila for several hours, and she eventually talks to it. Soon, Skylar walks in and checks on Leila, only to be attacked by the spirit. The next night, Ryan tapes Leila sleeping, but a dark and demonic spirit appears on camera and forces him to drop the camera. The following day, Ryan and Emily go out for the night and leave Skyler and Mike to take care of Leila. After experiencing the entity outside, they discover a slab of concrete in the ground with Katie and Kristi and the year 1987 etched in it. They discover their house is built on the same property that Katie and Kristi used to live in before their house burned down in 1992.
Leila gradually becomes less talkative and this worries Ryan and Emily enough to call Father Todd (Michael Krawic). He interviews Leila, and as a result, Leila attacks him. Todd is convinced that 'Toby' is a demon linked to a cult called The Midwives. Ryan researches the cult, and realizes they killed a family in Nevada related to a boy named Hunter, who was born on the same day as Leila. One of the tapes Ryan found also shows Leila with Kristi, Katie and Hunter in 1992, a few years before she was born. He also learns that Leila's blood is needed to finish Toby's transformation into a physical being. One night, Leila's interaction with Toby leads her to open a doorway to another realm into which she disappears. Ryan and Emily find her soon after, but flee with Leila to a hotel.
Father Todd comes back and attempts to cleanse the house. He decides to trap the demon, upon which the demon violently shakes the house. Todd is strangled and dragged away by Toby, leaving the family to finish the cleansing. Ryan entraps the demon in a white sheet and finishes reciting a prayer. Leila returns to normal and the demon disappears. After thinking the ordeal is over, Skylar starts to vomit blood all over Mike, but the blood burns him, killing them both. Leila then flees, and Ryan and Emily chase her upstairs, but Ryan is killed when a large arm impales through his chest. Leila sprints away into the "portal" in her room with Emily following her; she arrives at Kristi and Katie's mother's house in 1992, where she finds a young Katie and finally confronts the "human" version of Toby. Emily pleads with the demon to spare Leila, but is killed and her body is tossed at the camera as it flips over. Leila identifies the demon "Toby" and the two walk off as the camera cuts off, ending the film.
In this film the same ending begins as Leila turns back to normal. Four months later the family begins to move to another house which contains all the boxes in the truck; Ryan drops a box and finds a VHS tape regarding young Katie and Kristi, but then decides to destroy the evidence to avoid sending back the demon to their residence. To another shock, Emily turns to find Leila with younger Katie and Kristi holding hands as she states: "Look, mommy, my friends are here!" The next scene shows a pregnant Emily lighting a birthday cake, which turns out to be set at Leila's birthday party and that she wishes for a baby brother. The man from the home ritual videos then appears, picks up Leila, and wishes her a happy birthday. The screenshots then cuts to black as the film ends.Chris J. Murray as Ryan Fleege
Brit Shaw as Emily Fleege
Dan Gill as Mike Fleege
Ivy George as Leila Fleege
Olivia Taylor Dudley as Skyler
Michael Krawic as Father Todd
Chloe Csengery as young Katie
Jessica Tyler Brown as young Kristi
Hallie Foote as Lois
Don McManus as Kent
Mark Steger as Toby
Industrial Light & Magic created the 3D visual effects, especially for the creation of the Toby demon.
A teaser trailer was released on June 22, and promotional stills were released afterwards. The official first trailer was released the following day at midnight.
The film was originally slated for October 25, 2013, and was then delayed to October 2014. On September 17, 2014, it was announced that the film would be subtitled The Ghost Dimension, and that it was set to be released on March 13, 2015. On January 27, 2015, Paramount Pictures announced that it had pushed the release date back to October 23, 2015. The film was released in 3D and RealD 3D.
In July, Paramount announced that it had struck a deal with AMC Entertainment and Cineplex Entertainment to make Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Ghost Dimension available digitally, 17 days after they drop below 300 theaters, as part of a larger experiment, and asked other theaters to join in. In return, Paramount will share an undisclosed portion of proceeds of the VOD revenues. Per industry sources, Paramount is giving participating exhibitors an estimated 2-4% share of their digital revenue made between the time the film drops below 300 theaters and 90 days after its opening date. Those agreeing to Paramount's formula includes AMC, Canada's Cineplex, National Amusements and Alamo Drafthouse. But many circuits including Regal Cinema, Cinemark and Carmike have rejected Paramount's offer to release in VOD. This would mean that Ghost Dimension will only go out in roughly 1,350 North American theaters when opening on October 23—compared to 2,883 theaters for the last title and well north of 3,000 theaters for each of the previous three films. According to early pre-release tracking, the film was pacing to open to $10–12 million in the United States and Canada—despite the fact the film had the added benefit of 3D pricing, a first for the series—compared to $18.3 million for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. The reason why Paramount carried out this approach and experimented with these two younger demographic genre movies—which many believe to be a box office failure—was because of the theatrical failure of MGM's Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures said, "There is no question that we are going to do less theatrically, but I believe we will make it up digitally. This is about the long-term health of the business, so there is not this long period of time when a consumer can't watch a movie."
The film was released in the United Kingdom on October 21, 2015.
As of November 15, 2015, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension has grossed $18.3 million in North America and $60.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $78.9 million, against a budget of $10 million.
The film opened on October 23, 2015, alongside The Last Witch Hunter, Rock the Kasbah, and Jem and the Holograms, as well as the expanded release of Steve Jobs. In its opening weekend, the film had projected to gross $10–12 million from 1,656 theaters, however, some projections had it earning only in the high-single digits. The film made $500,000 from its early Thursday screenings and $3.3 million on its first day. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $8.1 million, finishing sixth at the box office becoming the lowest grossing Paranormal Activity film.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 13% based on 68 reviews; the average rating is 3.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension ties up some of the franchise's lingering questions, but six films into the series, the thrills are mostly gone." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 30 out of 100 based on 13 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.