Oren Peli's majorly successful "Paranormal Activity" was a found-footage horror movie about a young LA couple - Mica and Katie - who set up cameras all over their house in an attempt to capture what the lady suspects might be ghostly activity. They learned that there was indeed a spirit (and they learned that the hard way), although it wasn't specific to the house; it seemed to follow Katie wherever she went, and we're told that she started having these experiences at a young age. This gives the whole concept of the film a different notion of fear; they cannot escape the demonic forces at hand - unless Mica leaves his girl, which he wasn't about to do - and it will continue to push their buttons until it gets what it wants, that is Katie's body and soul. It was simple and low-budget, but the movie was effective; suspenseful, scary, and smart - with some good relationship drama thrown in for extra measure. And then came "Paranormal Activity 2", a prequel focusing on Katie's sister and her family this time around. You may or may not know how I felt about that one.
And now we've got the third installment. "Paranormal Activity 3" once again goes back to the past - acting as a prequel to a prequel. The story centers primarily on the aforementioned childhood experiences that Katie and her sister had with the diabolical spirits that have become sort of the un-seen poster boys for the franchise. Katie and sister Kristi live with parents Julie and Dennis; the latter who likes to play around with the latest in video technology. He sets cameras up all around the house just for laughs, although he manages to capture so much more one night, when a sudden earthquake brings dust from the ceiling, while reveals a ghostly apparition standing in the room. The dust, as expected, is no match for the veil of the spirit; and we see part of the basic outline. There's something there for sure. Dennis thinks this is cool; so he goes out and buys more cameras, one of which rotates.
Since it's the point of these found-footage movies to build suspense and then unleash fits of screaming, yelling, and very loud bumps in the night; "Paranormal Activity 3" gives us some time to get to know the characters before it finally decides to "catch fire". We see nighttime footage - some which reveals little, some which reveals a lot - and we're left to decide for ourselves, for a while, whether anything is really "up". But of course, there really is a spirit in the house; and it's ready to drive everyone in it over the edge, whenever it pleases. It's fairly entertaining to watch such antics for some time, but it runs out of steam quicker than one might expect or want it to. When the movie abandons suspense, it turns to cheap jump scares and faux thrills. You know, from the directors of "Catfish" - another fake found-footage flick - I was expecting sometimes perhaps just a little more fulfilling than this.
Look, I understand that some people like these movies; and that's OK. All I know is that I do sometimes, and other times I don't. I'm kind of tired of the found footage movement in the horror genre but I'm open-minded to fun when it comes my way. Too bad these "Paranormal" sequels have no intention of being "fun". No, instead they just want to be dead serious; and tend to fail miserably, from the looks of things. While 3 is a fairly significant improvement on the atrocious second coming, it still isn't my idea of great entertainment. Even for what it is; it's dry and repetitive, derivative and hopelessly familiar.
But I suppose I shall give credit where credit is due. When "Paranormal Activity 3" is good, it's actually pretty darn good; but when it's bad, it's bad. And that's pretty bad; although not necessarily to great extremes. There are some tense, creepy moments; although I disliked how they were so grossly outweighed by the loud noises that plague this sub-genre of horror. Sorry, but shit falling from shelves and people getting hung by their hair in mid-air doesn't scare me. I'm scared of what I can't see, and for a good portion of the time, this movie understands that; but it eventually shows too much and by then, I've given up all hope. Arguably some of the best scenes are contained within the last 15; and that's some genuinely eerie stuff right there. I won't spoil it for you, since you might want to check this one out; but it's a good send-off and it leaves a few nice little doors open for the fourth installment. That's pretty much all you need to know.
I have respect for "Paranormal Activity 3". I really do. I just wish it had more, you know, balance. I like my horror films raw and engaging, not generic and mediocre. The filmmakers behind these "Paranormal Activity" sequels need to get better at recycling; because I'm sure another flawlessly tense and interesting film can be born of this new horror franchise. I was hoping that I'd find such simple solace in the third film - since the second was not the answer to my prayers - but once again, no luck. Most people will find that they've gotten what they wanted; a well-made rinse-and-repeat horror flick. But to me, seldom is a rinse-and-repeat horror flick good at all. But if the right amount of style and flare is applied, it can feel new and exciting. Too bad that isn't the case here.
The original “Paranormal Activity” was honestly one of the best execution of POV style cinematography I’ve seen. I admit that it had its rough spots, but for a measly $ 15,000, you have to acknowledge the genius of the filmmakers for coming up with such a creation that generated a $ 85 million box-office take. The second movie, while I liked it, abandoned the raw and rough atmosphere of looking like ‘actual footage’. It felt more like a polished movie with … more
Star Rating: The first movie scared the living hell out of me. The second movie, not so much. We’ve now reached the third movie, and while I maintain that horror movies should be judged by their ability to frighten and not by their status as franchise pushers, I have to admit that some of my faith has been restored. Although Paranormal Activity 3 is in many ways as clichéd as its predecessor, and although a few of the much publicized explanations … more
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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