Latest Horror Movie Headlines

Review: Paranormal Activity 3

Oct. 21, 2011by: Chris Bumbray
100%



NOTE: John "The Arrow" Fallon's review will be up over the weekend.

PLOT: A prequel set in 1988, showing the initial haunting of sisters Katie (Chloe Csenery- later Katie Featherstone), and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown- later Sprague Grayden) by a supernatural presence that would return years later to provoke the events of the first two films.

REVIEW: When I reviewed PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 last year, I was surprised at how much my negative review upset a lot of readers, who felt I wasn't giving the series it's due. Love 'em or hate 'em, I can't deny that the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films have struck a chord with audiences, and I can totally understand why a lot of JoBlo.com readers would enjoy them. For one thing, they're different from the typical chiller that comes out these days, as the don't resort to CGI, or gore to scare an audience. Rather they prey on a fear that we all share, which are of things that go bump in the night.

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of the series. The first film was an interesting experiment, and director Oren Peli deserves a lot of credit for turning a micro-budget experiment into a major hit. However, the second film was a virtual remake of the first, adding nothing new to the franchise. When I heard they were making a third film, I wasn't the least bit enthused, until hearing that it would be directed by Henry Joost, and Ariel Schulman- whose film CATFISH, I adored (regardless of whether or not it's an actual documentary).

Their approach to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 is indeed somewhat different from the last two. Aside from the rather obvious prequel aspect (it was only a matter of time really), the film certainly relies more on out-and-out scares this time around. While it took about 2/3's of the running times in previous films, Joost and Schulman get to the scares relatively early.

PA3 focuses on Katie and Kristi's stepfather, Dennis (Chris Smith), a wedding videographer, who's settling into a blissful new marriage with the girls' mother, Julie (Lauren Bittner). Like the other films, this is all “found footage”, and being set in the eighties, we get a low grade video, with some intentional rolls, and video artifacts (although, in a concession to the fact that this is a studio film, it's starts to look less and less like tape as it goes on, looking way too polished for VHS- oh well). Being a child of the eighties, I appreciated some of the tongue in cheeks flourishes, including the prominent use of a Teddy Ruxpin doll (yay!).

One area that PA3 improves on the last films is in the quality of the cast and characters, all of whom felt a little more authentic than in the other films (Joost and Schulman's documentary background serves them well in this regard). Smith and Bittner are both very likable as the initially disbelieving parents (although the mother's denial is eventually a little tough to swallow), and the youngsters, Brown and particularly Csenery, are fantastic.

However, in an effort to be scarier than the last films, Joost and Schulman may have gone a little too far, as the whole thing becomes so extreme towards the end that the fact that neither of the girls mentions their horrific childhoods in the last two films is a major plot hole. However, if you ignore that little issue, PA3 is indeed a lot more exciting than the last two films, although in moving towards more visceral horror, they might be pushing the films away from what makes them unique to many viewers (although the vocal audience I saw this with didn't seem to mind).

At any rate, while I enjoyed PA3 to a certain extent, I'm still not really a fan of this franchise. It's a series that just doesn't really appeal to me, as I simply don't find them scary. In fact, the whole premise of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise seems like it was lifted from THE ENTITY (a truly scary 1982 horror flick), but considering how obscure that film is, I guess I'm one of the few that noticed.

Suffice to say, if you liked the last two, you'll probably enjoy the third film, as it is without a doubt the best film of the franchise (in my opinion anyway). However, if like me you thought the other films were overrated, this isn't really going to change your mind about the series. Still, it could have been a lot worse, and at least Schulman and Joost seem to be trying.

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Spitting Bullets
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

1:18PM on 10/22/2011

Scariest one yet!

I was on the edge of my seat for this entire movie. I was happy to see that the scares(and the payoffs) came rather early in the film. And that one camera that slowly panned left and right back and forth was just absolute torture. The suspense was practically killing me! Now one thing, the trailers. If you're like me and are mad at what you saw in the trailers or commercials because they felt too spoiler heavy..... dont. Because a good 70% of what was in the trailers didnt even make it to the
I was on the edge of my seat for this entire movie. I was happy to see that the scares(and the payoffs) came rather early in the film. And that one camera that slowly panned left and right back and forth was just absolute torture. The suspense was practically killing me! Now one thing, the trailers. If you're like me and are mad at what you saw in the trailers or commercials because they felt too spoiler heavy..... dont. Because a good 70% of what was in the trailers didnt even make it to the final cut. For better or for worse(I felt the movie needed to be longer. 84 minutes? Come on...) practically everything in the trailers were non-existent.

Now... the ending. I'm not gonna spoil anything but there's a lot of "hype" surrounding the ending. Honestly... the ending scared the shit out of me until about the last 30 seconds. It was already a little over the top(albeit still terrifying) but there was something that happened that was a little way too over the top. So I'm not sure if the ending was the right direction story wise... but it still managed to scare the shit out of me so I guess it's a job well done.

Definitely the scariest entry yet, but I say make the fourth one a proper sequel, and call it the end. Cause they can only continue to make this series so fresh and only push the whole "found footage" shtick so far.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
5:46PM on 10/21/2011
I can respect your opinion, even though you dont really like the films you acknowledged that this one is the best of the 3 and i whole heartedly agree.

Was not a huge fan of the original, thought it was overhyped, and the 2nd one was SO repetitive and such a rehash that i actually hated it. but this one was different, and definitely scarier.

I do agree however that there were some MAJOR plotholes in the end, how coudl the 2 girls NEVER have mentioned these events int he first 2? i mean
I can respect your opinion, even though you dont really like the films you acknowledged that this one is the best of the 3 and i whole heartedly agree.

Was not a huge fan of the original, thought it was overhyped, and the 2nd one was SO repetitive and such a rehash that i actually hated it. but this one was different, and definitely scarier.

I do agree however that there were some MAJOR plotholes in the end, how coudl the 2 girls NEVER have mentioned these events int he first 2? i mean the stuff that happened in this one was worse than the other films so theyd surely not be as freaked out over that stuff if they lived through this! im sure itll be explained in the countless sequels that follow, this franchise too shall die.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:33PM on 10/21/2011
Saw this last night. You and a few others missed the line where the boyfriend says the cult he was reading about "brainwashed the girls to forget" in reference to the cults use of little girls in their rituals to produce males for sacrifice. That's why Katie and Kristi don't mention it. They were brainwashed like other cult victims.
Saw this last night. You and a few others missed the line where the boyfriend says the cult he was reading about "brainwashed the girls to forget" in reference to the cults use of little girls in their rituals to produce males for sacrifice. That's why Katie and Kristi don't mention it. They were brainwashed like other cult victims.
8:59PM on 10/21/2011
I did hear that line. But I think that is lazy writing. The character of Katie is 10 years old and remembers being haunted by a ghost as a child but seems to forget the climax of this movie? I understand what you're saying, but that was a real copout by the filmmakers. Film shoudlve ended with their house burning down in my opinion.
I did hear that line. But I think that is lazy writing. The character of Katie is 10 years old and remembers being haunted by a ghost as a child but seems to forget the climax of this movie? I understand what you're saying, but that was a real copout by the filmmakers. Film shoudlve ended with their house burning down in my opinion.
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Mistress Of The Week

More
 VanCamp, Emily