This is a movie review of the Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman directed ‘found footage’ fright flick, Paranormal Acitivity 3. But does it deliver the frights and fun we’ve come to expect?
Despite bringing in different directors with each rendition of the movie, this latest addition to the Paranormal Activity franchise delivers exactly what you would expect with a few new twists to serve up a dish of movie theater seat-jumping.
To be honest, I was expecting the movie to be an origins movie… explaining why or how the sisters were cursed. But alas, this was just a prequel of sorts. At least that’s how the movie trailers were spun out to the money-spending public. The trailers had me believing this was a story about how the demon/ghost/specter/poltergeist came to haunt the sisters. But I’d say about 80, maybe 90% of the scenes in the movie trailers for Paranormal Activity 3 never show up in the movie. And I’m going to spoil it just a tiny bit… but no house burned down or was even close to burning down in this movie. The misleading trailers, looking back, seems frustrating, but that’s for another day.
The movie opens with the familiar characters of Katie and Kristi, in the house we saw in PA2, but with Kristi pregnant with her son. Time spent with these two don’t last long. It’s just long enough for us to see a box full of video tapes in the basement, and after that first ransacking of the house in PA2, the tape from 1988 is gone.
We then find ourselves watching the video tape as it fills the movie screen. It goes from there, as we now watch Julie (Lauren Bittner [Bride Wars]) and her live-in boyfriend, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), who is a wedding photographer/videographer.
One of the early scenes of the movie has Julie and Dennis getting high and playing with the idea of having sex, on film. Men won’t complain about this scene at all, but even though nothing really happens, there might be some questions from the little ones.
But before they can “get going,” an earthquake hits causing coitus interruptus, and with the camera that Dennis set up being on, it catches things that spike his curiosity and he sets up more cameras to watch the house.
And the thing it catches is new and cool to the Paranormal Activity franchise.
And it goes from there.
This new chapter of the Paranormal Activity franchise is nothing new in stunts, but its new in characters and setting.
It takes place in the late 80’s, so the research and confrontations are more of a classic nature, but the stunts still give you small coronaries.
And I have to say, when we come into this movie expecting things to jump out at us at every corner of the movie screen, and they don’t.
The moments of tension are instilled with the gaps of non-shock. There are moments that may only last a minute, but the tension makes it feel like 5 minutes.
All in all, Paranormal Activity 3 is one heck of a fun ride. It delivers exactly what we’re expecting, and in the process, I believe, delivers additional new information that can lead in either direction… either further back in time with the family or forward in time following Katie and Kristi up to PA2. Because this film did not answer the questions I had from the previous films.
Heck at this rate, right now, once this movie comes out on DVD, we’ll have ourselves an anthology of movies that can be played in any order. You could even “Pulp Fiction” the order the movies and it would still play well!
I did not waste my money going to see this and consider this to be an 8 out of 10 on my popcorn movie review scale.
Sure, it feels like a bit of a slow start, but they all do. And maybe there aren’t as many seat-jumps as I would have liked, but the slow start definitely paid off and the tension between starts was definitely a wonderfully subtle bit of pay-dirt…