Paranormal Activity 3 [DVD]
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In 1988, young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity who resides in their home.
A leaner, meaner, and altogether scarier entry in the Paranormal Activity horror franchise, Paranormal Activity 3 is a well-oiled scare machine that delivers the gut-wrenching shocks of the original 2007 film.
Fans may initially groan over the plot, which takes the tried-and-true sequel tack of flashing back to the "origin" of the first film's phenomena; we discover that the diabolical entity that plagued sisters Katie and Kristi (Katie Featherston and Sprague Grayden, both of whom return in "found footage" clips) has been after the girls since their adolescent years in the late '80s. There's an attempt to provide a reason for the haunting, which may or may not rankle franchise fans; its inclusion, however, doesn't interrupt the barrage of shudders and armrest-clutching frights encountered by the girls' father (Chris Smith), a wedding videographer whose skill with cameras uncovers glimpses of the monstrous presence in his house.
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish) have a keen understanding of how to use the corners of their image to milk maximum suspense from a static shot or slow-moving pan, as shown in one of the film's most memorable scenes, in which a camera mounted on an oscillating fan first suggests and then reveals a terrifying moment.
As before, the human element is the weakest link, though Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown, as young Katie and Kristi, respectively, are convincingly hysterical at the proper moments. But one doesn't attend a Paranormal Activity film to see fine acting. The franchise is a thrill ride/rite of passage/endurance test for its loyal fans, and PA 3 has the horsepower to stand alongside the other pictures. --Paul Gaita
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The story revolves around Katie's family again but this time taking it right back to the beginning in her and her sisters childhood. The set-up is the same. The film is shown through the perspective of a handheld camera and a suspicious family member, in this case step dad Dennis, decides he wants to film the house at night to catch the spooky happenings.
It is when the camera is fixed in one place rotating slowly that the tension is ramped up. As the camera slowly pans round you wait in anticipation of something jumping out at you. It is this anticipation that the directors have fun with and they knowingly throw a few scares your way.
Paranormal Activity 3 succeeds with some good jumpy moments. There is always an underlining feeling of dread and not knowing what is about to happen. You cautiously watch the screen waiting for a glimmer of something which normally never comes, but it really does keep you on the edge of your seat.
Although the story is well worn and the characters pretty stock, Paranormal Activity 3 is an effective little horror flick. Its also refreshing to have a film rely on slow burning scares rather than over the top gory effects. At 81 minutes it never outstays it's welcome.
For once a welcome Halloween tradition.
I am not a fan of this series. The stories are too slow to build with long scenes of nothing and then the scare is minimal. This movie is the spoiler for the series as we find out from the subtitle "It runs in the family." We do get an explanation. This is a prequel filmed in high quality DVD using a VHS camera. The acting was better in this one. Lauren Bittner was convincing as Julie. In one scene she puts on a mask and scares the guys. She is so happy she got one over on them, she jumps around with bubbly joy. Also extremely realistic is young Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) who convinces me she has an imaginary friend named Captain Howdy, er ah Toby. Likewise child actor Chloe Csengery did an excellent job as Katie as she goes screaming across the room.
There is a sex scene that is comical. Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) starts out mouthing "wack-a-da, wack-a-da" porno music and as a romantic sort stampedes right to Julie's chest. There are some strange events going on in the house, so it gets wired for VHS tapes. Now as I recall the longest VHS tape setting was 6 hours (some were 8 hours) which means they would of had to been changed out frequently and viewed for paranormal activity with some scenes lasting for a second. With multiple cameras going 24/7...well you get the idea of how tedious and impracticable this becomes. In one scene the stationary VHS camera is looking at the entire girl's bedroom and then the next second it is focusing on Kristi's bed. While they used the amateur camera for a realistic effect, they didn't stay true to it, which made for a better movie. Maybe one day they will discover how real movies are made.
What is not credible is the wife not believing what is going on and refusing to look at the evidence on film. They had to do this so they could keep the constant build up. Dennis filming everything with the camera at grandma's house didn't make much sense. At some point if you are being chased, you stop filming and run. If you are hiding and need to be quiet, you don't keep the camera on. The chase scene is hard to justify filming in all of these types of movies. I felt a little short changed on the ending.
Like the other movies, it starts out slowly, but it doesn't sputter and grind its wheels like they did. This is my favorite of the three.
F-bomb, no nudity, comical foreplay scene. Was that a 1993 Free Willy stuffed whale in this 1988 movie? Now that was really unexplained.
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