Review: Paranormal Activity 3
It may just be me being in the minority but I may just have been desensitized to the Paranormal Activity formula of conjuring up scares. By all means, the film is still solid and new directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost inject some life into the film by adding a nice new tactic of increasing the tension. The scares are much of the same from the previous two installments, but slightly more aggressive. The scares however do not have any signature moment like the previous two installments. I still will never forget how when I first saw the original film I was shaking while walking to my car to leave the theater due to the dragging scene and the intense ending. I never got that feeling during this film or the second film but this film did manage to make me tense up.
The film begins slightly before Paranormal Activity 2 as we see Daniel Ray, Kristi's husband, painting their new house baby blue for the baby boy on the way. It then cuts forward to the point in the second where Kristi and Daniel suspect looters ran through their house. It adds a scene where Daniel and Kristi go to the basement to check the tapes that Katie recently brought over, but sadly the tapes are missing. The film cuts to static and picks up in September 1988 and follows Katie and Kristi as children living with their mother Julie and her boyfriend Dennis, the wedding videographer. Everything seems good but Dennis notices Kristi talking to an imaginary friend named Toby. A child having an imaginary friend is something very innocent, but this is Paranormal Activity so we not it isn't.
The normal Paranormal Activity formula is then in full effect as it has a slow build but kicks up the tension quickly. The main character Dennis begins to really think something is amiss during a earthquake that he caught on tape. When he and his slacker videographer friend view the tapes they notice something odd, and decide to film the house to find out what the source of the noises are inside the house. The tactic that the new directors come up with is genius for this, he places a camera on a fan as it goes back and forth. It does a great job of increasing the tension, and most of the scenes with it deliver some impressive scares even though you can see them coming. Even more impressive was how little of the film is actually in the trailer. They did this in both previous films but it is still appreciated by at least me as I believe to much is shown in trailers nowadays.
The film is solid, and better than the second but the ending made me leave with more questions than answers. It seems that it was done on purpose to set up an inevitable sequel as this franchise is a gold mine at this point. The advertisement of the final fifteen minutes being quite possibly one of the most disturbing things you could see, is a bit dramatic. The ending was done very well as the directors did the most that they could with what they had, but to me it was a bit predictable.
Paranormal Activity 3 is the scariest film of the year, but not of the series. In that sense, it is somewhat of a let down to me. The story suffers slightly towards the end but the film benefits from excellent directing and solid performances from the two child actresses. The actress that plays Katie as a child does a fantastic job and is very believable in her bickering with her younger sister Kristi. Christopher Nicholas Smith and Lauren Bittner do a decent job as the parents and its refreshing how the male in the story isn't the one that is completely blind to the paranormal activity taking place.
I'd love to rank the film higher, but the ending truly did disappoint me. The writing could have been a little tighter as well seeing how there are a few holes in the plot that doesn't fit in line with the previous installments. The dialogue at times is also a bit bland, but frankly no one is watching these films for dialogue. The scares are at their best midway through the movie and surely will shock people. This film is deserving of a watch especially if you enjoyed the first two films, and seeing how Halloween is around the corner, you are sure to jump at least a few times during this flick.