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Paranormal Activity 3

by

Jeff Nelson

Paranormal Activity 3 is certainly better than Paranormal Activity 2, but doesn't come close to beating out the original.

Paranormal Activity 3
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Now that the Saw franchise is over, there must be a new series to take its place each Halloween. That film franchise's competitor Paranormal Activity continues. The first film is original and terrifying. The sequel/prequel is decent, but I expected more. Paranormal Activity 3 goes even further back in the story of Katie and Kristi. With the amount of money this franchise has already made on such a small budget, Paramount Pictures doesn't plan to stop here. However, a fresh spin has to be put on the film, otherwise it will become stale. The third film in the franchise continues the trend of splitting the audience down the middle.

In the year 1988, young wedding videographer Dennis is living with his girlfriend Julie and her two daughters, Katie and Kristi. Obsessed with documenting their life together, Dennis always holds a video camera, capturing daily life. He soon finds evidence that a ghost is inhabiting the home, with little Kristi able to communicate with the intruder. as the days go by, more hauntings occur, motivating Dennis to research the being in books and bringing in assistant Randy to help. Yes, this is another prequel. This time going even further back in time to answer more questions. However, Paranormal Activity 3 gives more unanswered questions than answers to questions offered in the first two entries. The trailers and TV spots offered a lot of footage, which looks like a lot of the scares were spoiled. This is far from the truth. In fact, none of the footage that appeared in the TV spots and trailers were in the final cut of the movie. The filmmakers took a different approach to the scares. Instead of the cameras simply sitting still, some of them were placed on top of the fans that move from side to side. This allows the audience to see an entire room as the camera moves from side to side. The 'where's Waldo' scares are still there. The big difference between Paranormal Activity 2 and Paranormal Activity 3 is that the characters are surprisingly likable and believable. Those in the second film of the series were irritating and I never found myself relating to the characters like I did in the first film. The pacing is quite a bit quicker in this film as well. The final ten minutes are surely the most suspenseful moments of the entire movie. I found myself sitting at the edge of my seat, wondering what is going to happen next. As previously stated, the ending leaves us with a lot more questions than answers. Unfortunately, the running time is extremely short and it definitely shows. Many viewers will be asking whether or not the scares here are as effective as they were in the past two films. A good number of them are. The same tactic of jump scares are used, but it still works. Don't try to fix what isn't broken.

Due to the fact that this is a prequel, none of the same actors are used. The best component about these characters is that they are likable, yet something annoying. This makes them feel more believable as people and not just roles. The cast is filled with actors that viewers haven't heard of. This works to the film's advantage to make us feel more immersed by the movie. The acting surely isn't the best and even has its moments of being quite poor. I don't feel that this affected the movie too much. Don't expect any great performances. In fact, you might be better off just ignoring the acting completely and just allowing the tension to pull you to the edge of your seat.

Even though the filmmakers were changed, yet again, the atmosphere is very similar. The film is separated into daytime and nighttime sequences. The daytime scenes allow the audience to relax and have comic relief. The nighttime scenes is when viewers will become to get tense and prepare themselves for jump scares. The rumbling of bass during the nighttime scenes still takes place as the camera captures the activity. Not all of the scares are effective, but a good majority of them are. For a film made on a $3M budget, the effects are great. Make sure to check this out in a theater with a loud audio system.

The first Paranormal Activity is one of the very few movies to genuinely creep me out and send chills down my spine. Has the momentum of the first film been carried out to the two sequels? In my opinion, no. However, there are some effective jump scares that will have even the biggest horror fans jumping in his or her seat. The opinions of the audience are sure to split down the middle. Some people will love it while others will hate it. No movie can please everybody. Paranormal Activity 3 is certainly better than Paranormal Activity 2, but doesn't come close to beating out the original. The film has its ups and downs and it felt incredibly short, but I still feel that I got my money's worth. If you didn't like either of the past entries in the franchise, there isn't anything here that will change you mind. Fans of the first two movies will receive more jump scares and a faster paced story.

My Rating = Four Stars

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