"Paranormal Activity 3" Movie Review
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The first “Paranormal Activity” intrigued me, the sequel scared me, and the third made me believe in the potency of the franchise. All three films invite us to use our imagination which makes the journey far scarier. No gore, just good-old fashioned thrills.
Oren Peli wrote and directed the first film with a production budget of $15,000. The movie went on to earn $108 million and became one of the most profitable series in cinema history. The doomed relationship between Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) was explored and we witnessed the paranormal activity inside a house in Carlsbad, CA.
“Paranormal Activity 2” explained the events of the first film by introducing us to Katie’s sister, Kristi (Sprague Grayden), and her family. The filmmakers hinted at the origin of the paranormal activity but in order to know how it all began, you have to watch “Paranormal Activity 3.”
Like the second movie, the third installment is a prequel and showcases the very young and the super-charming Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown). The time is 1988 and instead of HDCAM capturing things that go bump in the night, the bulkier VHS cameras are employed.
Like its predecessors, “Paranormal Activity 3” belongs in the found-footage genre. The movie opens with the adult Katie (Featherston) and her sister Kristi (Grayden) and a huge stack of VHS tapes. Therein lies the diabolical secret.
The “Paranormal Activity” movies have been very good at displaying ordinary families experiencing extraordinary activities. This time, we meet Julie (Lauren Bittner) and Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), parents of Katie and Kristi.
Conveniently, Dennis owns a videography business and his talent comes in handy after the family starts experiencing weird occurrences. The crux of the story is the friendship between Katie, Kristi, and an invisible friend. What we learn is an age-old secret that portends the film’s narrative. It all runs in the family indeed.
It’s interesting that Paramount Pictures hired Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to direct the third installment. Last year, they came up with the quasi-documentary known as “Catfish” which talked about the perils of online dating. Many critics questioned the film’s authenticity and unjustifiably labeled the duo as frauds.
I enjoyed “Catfish” and fraud or not, Joost and Schulman know how to build tension. The “Paranormal Activity” movies are all about developing thrills by using slow, methodical narrative pieces. Hence, the pairing of Joost and Schulman with the franchise is a marriage made in heaven, or is it hell?
Written by Christopher B. Landon (“Disturbia,” “Paranormal Activity 2”), “Paranormal Activity 3” is not without flaws but this one is the most inventive among the three movies. You will be thrilled with the “fan cam” where a camera is jerry-rigged on top of a fan to capture occurrences happening on both sides of the room.
But above all, the scares are plenty and will satisfy both fans and non-fans of the “Paranormal Activity” series. I, for one, enjoyed this franchise because it lets me use my mind. And sometimes, your mind can play tricks on you.
RATING: “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” GETS 3 KISSES
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
The PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise continues with this third outing from Paramount Pictures. Oren Peli and Jason Blum return to produce the highly secretive feature.
Genres: Suspense/Horror and Sequel
Release Date: October 21st, 2011 (limited)
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Year of Production: 2011
Country: United States