DIRECTORS: ARIEL SCHULMAN, HENRY JOOST. STARRING: CHLOE CSENGERY, JESSICA TYLER BROWN AND CHRISTOPHER NICHOLAS SMITH
Rounding out the sequels about a demonic poltergeist passed down through a family comes Paranormal Activity 3. The theme of the movie may seem a bit used-up but surprisingly it gives the past two films a new pulse. Directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost somehow provided the audience with new scares that had the whole audience jumping every few moments. At first glance the film seems like just another franchise that a studio is beating into the ground to make money like Saw or the Scream series. However, once you sit down and give it a chance you’ll see how it creates a new plot line but is still able to comment on all the events that occurred in the previous films without being redundant.
Paranormal Activity 3 starts out with the two sisters from the previous movies as young children. Their mother is living with her boyfriend whose career consists of filming and editing weddings but still is a favorite among her daughters. After the couple’s failed attempt at creating a sex tape because of an earthquake, the boyfriend notices some strange occurrences on his camera that was left filming in his room as they ran to protect the girls. As a result, multiple cameras are set up around the entire house which begins the scares and ghostly activity for the audience to enjoy. Each camera ends up recording some strange occurrence or violent attack that this demonic force, named “Toby”, carries out. This “Toby” begins as an imaginary friend for the youngest sister, Kristi, but slowly becomes more malevolent. The older sister Katie is not so in tuned with this ghostly figure and doesn’t understand why Kristi keeps speaking to it. Eventually this becomes costly to Katie as she gets accosted by the poltergeist to the point where Kristi puts an end to it by agreeing to do something Toby needs her to do. Ergo, the audience is put in a position of trying to figure what and why this little girl has to agree to do anything for such a malevolent force. Once the film comes to it shocking end, the viewers gain an understanding of how the entire story started. Without giving too much away, the ending of this third installment makes a full circle to the origins of the poltergeist starting with the sisters’ family lineage.
The film sticks to its guns which provide the audience with enough horror to be satisfied with. First-person camera angles in the rooms of a suburban house mixed with the eerie movements of random objects still is a guaranteed scare. Unlike the first two films, the third provided another perspective for a viewer to comprehend. There is more activity that is happening behind the camera or in an area the audience can’t see. For example, some of the most chilling moments are when Katie receives a full on assault from Toby by dragging her out of bed and into the attic closet. The viewer can’t see what’s happening to her or what she’s seeing which lets your mind wander and create scarier situations then what’s actually happening on the screen. Involvement of the unknown allows a person to reach a level of fright than what is being produced on the screen. As a result, many scenes of Kristi talking to an entity behind the camera or Katie being locked in the attic closet lets the human mind create a frightening scene in our limitless imagination. This activity going on beyond the audience’s view causes an uncomfortable feeling of the unknown.
Walking into a movie like this, one may have preconceived notions about another trilogy and how contrived they can be. However, in this case the Paranormal Activity brand lives up to its name. With plenty of scares and not too much plot overload, it’s simply a fun horror film. Even if you are just a really loyal fan of the series and watching it to see what the third has to offer, the conclusion of the film will send you home feeling satisfied. The movie also caters to those who don’t even keep up with the series as it provides plenty of jumps for any group of friends to have a fun night. It’s an enjoyable film for some good scares or for the fans that want to come full circle with the entire story.