The Paranormal Activity series is your latest yearly Halloween horror. Now that the Saw movies are out of the way, these movies have taken up the third week in October with no competition.
It all began with the first movie, made in 2007, starring two people, Katie and Micah. The movie thrived on the simplest scare tactics to get the viewer to jump or feel frightened. The first movie worked well with giving you very little and letting your imagination do the work. It was a success and the demand for it got higher, so in 2010, we got another installation. This time, it features Katie’s sister Kristi. Kristi has a newborn child and the demonic activity that was following Katie wants that child. In the end, both of the movies tie together, even though the second just seemed like the same rehashed idea just to get some bucks for the next movie.
With those two movies showing us what happened today, Paranormal Activity 3 comes in to show us how it began.
Paranormal Activity 3 is a prequel set in 1988. We have our two sisters, Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown), who are roughly around 5-10 years old, with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith). You have the same type of scare tactics from the first two: Pots and pans dropping to get the audience to jump, false scares to get the audience to jump, and the paranormal shit to get the audience to jump. After all the audience jumping, it starts unfolding like the rest of the movies when one character decides to walk around the dark house with the camera for your shaky camera fix. The ending is where it seems to take a turn from the rest of the movies. They give you some background on why these activities are happening. That could be good or bad.
That last part is where, I think, this movie goes wrong. These movies are fueled on letting the audience’s imagination run wild questioning “why/how is this happening”. The unknown is scarier than the known and they may have blown their cover by giving you too much. Not just with giving too much background, but showing too much of the thing that is haunting people. I enjoyed the first movie because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. The third one merely says: “Here’s what’s going on, you can’t think otherwise. Na-na-na-na boo boo”. I know people like resolution with these sorts of things, but for once, can’t we let something be left unresolved to leave us guessing?
To me, it seems the movie has lost its authenticity from the first. I think it’s the low budget that gives it its authenticity. Once the budget is higher, you start doing ridiculous things like vacuuming people across the entire room. The first movie plays off of the quiet to loudness ratio. Once you hear that low-pitch rumbling, you know something is going down. On a side note, why did they switch that up this year to a high-pitch ringing? I think you want your audience to feel like something bad is coming up with rumbling, not like they are just coming out of shell-shock. Anyway, once you have the money to start showing what it is more, it becomes less realistic and instead of feeling like something more believable, it just feels like another supernatural movie.
How the movie looks is fine. Even though it’s supposed to look like VHS recording, it has some clarity to it, which may not be very authentic to that, but at least we can see what the hell going on. The nighttime bedroom camera angles are fine. You get to see what’s happening in the rooms whether it’s direct or through a mirror, but the other camera they have in the kitchen is a little annoying. They just mounted a camera on top of an oscillating fan. So back and forth it goes as they try and think of ideas to scare you as the camera comes back into one room.
The acting with these movies has always been just fine and believable. When shit happens, the people react naturally as if it was really happening, which is good. They don’t do a shitty job at that. So there’s something good about it.
Overall, I would say if you are a fan of the series, you’ll like this. If you were looking for some sort of explanation on how this all started, this movie should paint a picture for you. Just know the majority of it is the same ol’ shit they have been pulling for the first two movies. It is nothing really new, just a continuation of the series. If that’s enough for you to see it, by all means, have fun. If you’re looking for something new from this, you won’t really get anything. Expect another movie next year to give you more of what you may not want. The Paranormal Activity seed was planted in 2007, boomed in 2009, and it’s been circulating and killing ever since (just like Pootie Tang).
Paranormal Activity 3 – 5.5/10