John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Fifty-Five : Paranormal Activity 3
When I first saw “Paranormal Activity” I knew it’d be a long time before I slept peacefully. The invisible dread that lay with each setting sun, the eventual reveal in the daytime, the forceful nature of the demon, for no determined purpose other than malice, left me shaking. What if this kind of thing came into my home? How would I stop it? The subtle scares, the growling, the breathing. All of those things are what made the first movie so damn frightening.
But that was lost to the filmmakers. The audience jumped at things crashing and banging, and so they put together a moderate script and out came “Paranormal Activity 2”. Yes, the story was extended, and tied well together with the first. But something began happening. Gone was the dread and dreariness of the original. In its place were nonsensical dialogue scenes sandwiched between crashing, banging, and doors opening and closing. The conclusion was slightly more satisfactory than the original, but we all knew, something was brewing, and it wasn’t good. It was a franchise, and it came to fruition with this movie, “Paranormal Activity 3”.
We open with Katie bringing over old tapes, just so we have a reason to have footage to look at. After all, we can’t possibly try shaking the gimmicky part of this series for a sensible storyline, can we? After the burglary from the second movie, we find the only things that were stolen were said tapes. So I guess the director and writer of this movie broke into the house and stole them, right?
We see Katie and Kristi as kids. Kristi talks to an invisible friend she calls Toby. Dennis, their soon to be father, works on wedding videos and keeps hearing crashing in the house, then eventually while trying to make a sex tape with Kristi and Katie’s mom, catches something moving during an earthquake and decides to put cameras all over the house. Kristi continues to talk to Toby, and Dennis wants to know why.
Meanwhile, Katie and Kristi’s grandmother wants their mother to reconsider marrying Dennis, mostly because it doesn’t seem they’re going to have a son. Hmm.
The activity gets worse. Toby, the demon, pulls a pretty funny gag on the babysitter, pretending to be a sheet-ghost. Then it breaths on her to scare her away. It also attacks Katie and Dennis’s partner in crime in a bathroom. Probably the only scary moment in the movie, but for the sheer fact that nothing else in this movie is scary.
Toby wants Kristi to do something, but we don’t know what it is. When she refuses, he drags Katie around until she accepts. So she tries to convince her mother to go to her grandmothers’. When she refuses, Toby drops everything in the kitchen from the ceiling. Typical demons, messing up the kitchen.
So they go to the grandmothers, where we find Kristi getting dressed up for a wedding. With Toby. As it turns out, the Grandmother is part of a cult, and she’s giving Kristi and Katie to Toby as payment of a first born son for bargaining with him.
Or something like that.
The end leaves the viewer extremely frustrated. The previews showed burning houses and demonologists having their head bashed on a table, which did not show up in the film. Instead, it’s open-ended.
And even with that in mind, the fourth is coming out, jumping ahead to after Part 2’s conclusion.
So, this movie is all crash and bang, and really, it’s more funny than scary. And that, in itself, scares me, as I’m going to see the 4th movie tomorrow, with extremely low expectations on what started as such a potentially frightening idea.