Paranormal Activity 3 opened to a record $54 million dollars for an October debut. Money is great and makes the film a commercial success for sure, but was it any good?
A prequel to Paranormal Activity 2, which in itself is a prequel to the original Paranormal Activity, PA3 wastes no time getting us back into familiar territory. Sisters Katie and Kristi, yes those sisters, discover old tapes left by their recently deceased grandmother. The tapes are from their childhood, and they mysteriously have no memory that they ever existed. Before they get a chance to watch them the tapes are stolen. We then see the tapes. The rest seems like a toned down version of the first two films.
The tapes go back to a young Katie and Kristi, living with their mother Julie, and her boyfriend Dennis, who is a wedding videographer (see where we’re going with this?). Dennis and Julie begin hearing noises and guess what Dennis decides to do? If you guessed hire someone to inspect the house, I’m sorry but you are wrong. If you said film the whole thing using his all of his video equipment, DING DING DING, we have a winner!
If you’ve seen the other two movies, with the exception of plot points I won’t spoil for you, you pretty much know the drill from here. The “spirit” in the house gradually makes it’s presence more and more known day after day, culminating in a final scene that aims to scare the pants off of the entire audience. The main problem is that while the story is fairly interesting, excluding some plot holes that pop up when connecting them to the other 2 films, the scares just weren’t there for me. I can recall 5 moments that had a legit scare factor. The rest of it is just waiting for those moment to come up. Sure there is something to the scenes just telling us an entity is in the house, but those points never really amplify like they do in the first two.
Part of that could be due to the acting. While the entire cast does a fair job throughout the movie. Some of the reactions to the scares borderline on being funny instead of scary. I didn’t expect to laugh so much during one of these films. The other part could just be direction. After two movies, there is only so much that could be done. Perhaps the decision was made that suspense was the best scare left, and they put plenty of it in there. As for the ending, it definitely provides the scares, however it also completely changed the whole way that I look at the series. Unfortunately I can’t say that it is for the better either.
If you are new to the series, then PA3 delivers adequate scares with a twist ending. However if you are a Paranormal Activity veteran, expect pretty much the same movie you’ve already seen twice before, with a ending that adds a whole new outlook on the series. Overall, an okay movie. Entertaining, but I won’t exactly be having troubles getting to sleep tonight.