Today: February 28, 2024

Paranormal Activity 3

More home haunting in Paranormal Activity 3 but does exactly what you need and expect it to.

More home
haunting in Paranormal Activity 3 but does exactly what you need and expect it
to.

Who would have thought that back in 2007 a small
horror film, known as Paranormal Activity, made for a measly $15,000, the kind
of money that wouldn’t pay for the catering on most Hollywood productions,
would go on to spawn not one but now two sequels all of which would bring in
seriously big bucks at the box-office.
The first film made just shy of $200 Million, the second a little less
and then the third instalment making the biggest splash of just over the $200
Million mark. In other words like the demon of the franchise this film, thanks
to huge profit margins, shows no signs of being exorcised.

As with Paranormal Activity 2 the latest instalment
jumps further back in time to when the protagonists of the first two films,
sisters Katie and Kristie, were children living with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her new boyfriend
Dennis (Christopher Nicolas Smith). With Dennis being a wedding video
director, in the height of the 80s craze of such things, he decides to set up
cameras around the house to see if he can get to the bottom of the strange
sounds. What he records is Kristie
(Jessica Tyler Brown) speaking to an
imaginary friend called Tobey and her sister Katie (Chloe Csengery) determined to play Bloody Mary in the bathroom
mirror.

Paranormal Acitvity 3 doesn’t do anything the previous
films did before it. In fact if
anything the plot of this film only muddies the chronology and history of the
previous films. Furthermore, the
‘3’ of the title is misleading, as was the ‘2’ of the second film, as both are
prequels to the first film rather than sequels. You still get locked off cameras filming a house, spooky
goings on and the suspicion that something is just lurking off camera waiting
to jump out at you, but it rarely threatens to push the envelope.

However, if what you’re after is good old chills and
scares then Paranormal Activity 3 delivers all that. This film being set in the 80s we get to see the world in
glorious VHS rather than the sharp HD of before but it feels more organic. Yes you are left curious as to why
these two young girls have always had cameras shoved in their faces all their
lives, as if they’re living a warped version of The Truman Show (1998), but this is all about making you cower
behind a cushion, not question the moral conundrum of always filming young
girls in their sleep.

Whereas the first two films relied on CCTV style
camera instillations Paranormal Activity 3 has to be more inventive. On the one hand the ‘wedding video’
idea seems contrived but one of the film’s strongest ideas is born out of
Dennis’ inventive nature. Deciding
he hasn’t got a lens wide enough to film the whole of the living area down
stairs he removes the blades from a fan and fixes a video camera to the top,
allowing it to pan back and forth repeatedly. It is in these moments, as the camera slowly and
painstakingly creeps across the room, where the film incites moments of genuine
tension. There is also a good use
of the urban legend that is Bloody Mary, whereby you stand in front of a mirror
say the name three times, turn off the lights and she will appear, and one
which will make you certain never to play the game.

If you liked Paranormal Activity 1 and 2 then 3 will
surely have you hooked. It does
exactly what you want of this ilk of film and leaves you scrabbling for the
light switch mid-way through. If
anything these films will always play better on the home screen format where
the danger of lurking shadows is that much more real. Spook yourself silly and then forget about it.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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