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The first two Paranormal Activity films focused on story, tension, and the fear of the unknown; and I absolutely loved them. Paranormal Activity 3 is more content to piss that away with way too many cheap flash scares, stalking bed sheets, and corny-ass clichéd explanations.
Review by Crispy
Added: October 24, 2011
A year before the demon begins harassing the Rey family, Katie dropped off a few boxes in their basement. Among them is a box full of old VHS home videos; and those tapes are our main focus tonight. Flash back to 1988. The girls' mother, Julie, has just moved in her boyfriend, Dennis. Dennis films weddings for a living, and while using one of his cameras to film their "extracurricular activities", they're interrupted by an earthquake. As they rush out to check the kids, some dust falls from the ceiling and settles on an invisible figure by the bed. While reviewing the tape later, Dennis notices this and decides to set up cameras in the bedrooms, and later a panning camera that covers the living room and kitchen. It quickly becomes apparent that something is definitely wrong, and it all seems to center on Kristie's new imaginary friend, Toby.
So let's get the obligatory comparisons out of the way. The first two movies in this franchise followed a definite pattern. Things start out incredibly slow, maybe a door closes or weird banging sounds are heard, before things build to a terrifying attack. Part three throws all that out of the window, and this was obvious from the opening dust scene. There are scenes where it takes on the form of a bed sheet ghost, scenes where it grabs a girl by the hair and lifts her up. Sure, some of these scenes are alright in their own right, but the movie misses the whole point on this franchise. This is not what I want to see in a Paranormal Activity, and the the lost subtlety really caused a lot of damage. I'm not saying they have to follow the formula exactly, but they completely went from one extreme to the other. The demon is much more of a tangible thing now, instead of just antagonistic evil, which by default is a lot less scary.
I have a lot of things I need to go into to really discuss my feelings on this film, so while I typically don't like doing this, I'm breaking out some spoilers in this paragraph. And I mean all the spoilers, right down to the big twist at the end. You see, its apparent lack of motive was also a huge contribution to the films' effectiveness. Sure, in part two they threw out something about a first-born son; but it was still vague enough that it was OK. But now, it's all explained: the sisters' grandmother was a witch. Yes, that's the level of bullshit Paranormal Activity has been reduced to. Whoever thought up that cheesy cliché needs to be smacked. No reason at all is scary. A vague, ancient pact with the devil is still scary. A bunch of hags in the closet isn't scary at all. Frankly, it's embarrassing. Oh and they don't worship the demon, it serves them. That's right, that antagonistic piece of pure evil is reduced to a bunch of old crones' pet; named Toby to throw some more salt in the wound. And finally, I'm a stickler for continuity. Yeah sure, I realize accidents are gonna happen in the writing, but this movie just doesn't jive at all with what the first two established about their childhood encounters. It's not a big deal to some people I know, but it annoyed the hell out of me.
I'll concede that it's got some nice scenes. For example, despite my crying about that bed sheet scene, I liked it for its own merits; but again, people come back to their favorite franchises because they like what that franchise has to offer. If you're gonna add a new installment, you have to at least try and keep things somewhat consistent. And if you're gonna change it up, give me better than this schlock. 4/10.
- added 10/24/2011, 09:05 PM
I agree with a lot of what you said. The first 2
films seem like it could be real while this one
feels like a Hollywood movie. But I actually like
that. Having the 3rd film do exactly what the
first 2 did with it's slow pace would honestly
bore many to tears. I enjoyed them the first 2
times but kicking it up a notch was necessary in
my opinion. I found that this one was a bit
scarier than the first 2. The bathroom seen alone
had a lot of tension. But near the end when shit
started to hit the fan I will say that it was a
lot less scary. When too much is happening ,and
like you said when the demon is more tangible it
is a lot less scary. But I have to say I had a lot
of fun with this one. 8/10
- added 10/24/2011, 09:52 PM
8/10. Better than the original but not as solid
as the second film. I appreciate the fact that
this franchise keeps slipping into the hands of
talented directors. The guys who did
"Catfish" did this one and they handled
the premise and executed it well, I thought. I
agree - the ending felt more like "The Last
Exorcism" than anything else, but it had a
nice amount of scares and I loved how they handled
the whole 'imaginary friend' thing. Solid horror
- added 01/03/2014, 10:46 PM
I've been enjoying these movies. I'll concede
that not much changes from one to the next, but
it's a gimmick that I enjoy.