Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 3: Now With Storyline!

Alright, folks. Paranormal Activity 3 hasn’t been as subtle as the first, with ads for it on every sidebar of every website running. Seriously, I’m looking at one right now. Since the Paranormal Activity series has become so much more mainstream, will a third movie still be able to capture the low-budget terror that many enjoyed from the first two?

So, this time, Paranormal Activity 3 (PA3) takes us back to the 80’s and explains the origins of the series. The story follows Julie and Dennis (played by Lauren Bittner & Christopher Smith), plus the childhood versions of the Paranormal series’ main characters, Katie and Kristi. See, little Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) gets a new imaginary friend, Toby (The Devil). After Toby shows up, things start gettin’ all sorts of spooky. Dennis begins to notice these strange things going on and decides to rig up several of his cameras around the house, in order to capture the events. Ok, look. I get that the plot was the same in the first two movies:

  1. Spooky Shit
  2. Camera System
  3. More Spooky Shit At Night
  4. Thrilling Conclusion

But, give the third installment a chance! With the thrills being the main attraction, PA3 really does the best it can at delivering a story and an explanation as to why the previous movies occurred.  While I can’t say that I was particularly satisfied with the ending of this film, it did satisfy most of my curiosities about the series’ plot.

PA3 brings back the same style of “Where’s Waldo” horror, forcing your eyes to fly around the screen and notice any small movement that happens. While this was the same in the previous installments of Paranormal Activity, I still couldn’t help but feel that nervous anticipation every time it cuts into a night scene. As far as horror goes, Paranormal Activity has shown that a one-trick pony can still know a pretty damn fine trick. Of course, since there are children in danger, this only increases the knot in your stomach. But, PA3 also breaks the chain by offering more laughs than the previous films. Perhaps they’ve realized that the series has run a little long and are allowing you to just enjoy the ride. Either way, the audience I saw this with screamed, laughed and cheered at the end.

I’m sure this will shock all of you, but the trademark “Home Video” look has made it into the third film. Where Paranormal Activity 2 had an advanced camera system throughout the house, each panning and activated by motion, PA3 has to get more creative with the shots. There are more fixed camera shots in this film, but what creates the most suspense is the rig created by Dennis. By taking the blades off of a fan and putting a camera on top, Macgyver was able to create the painfully slow, panning camera. I hope you enjoy seeing something terrifying out of the corner of the screen, just as it pans out of view to show the unsuspecting character eating a churro or something.

Naturally, there are plenty of things to be unhappy with while watching PA3. Well, these issues really crop up during the drive home. Have you ever heard of a plot hole? Well, much like any government-funded road construction, the Paranormal Activity series has made a storyline-highway full of those babies. While its pretty clear what happens in PA3, it will leave you wondering how it all fits together and how it all makes sense. Feel free to argue and debate the little details with your friends on the way home. If you’re seeing PA3 alone, feel free to go make a friend. Also, the ending definitely takes a different turn from the previous films. A less scary turn. This is difficult to say without spoiling anything, but the explanation behind the hauntings/possessions of the Paranormal movies is somewhat bland.

Overall, Paranormal Activity 3 rounds out the series in a scary and satisfying way. With a good mix of jumps, slow-scares and tense moments, PA3 delivers all of the fun from the first two, without seeming like a greedy, cash-grab sequel. I have to say, I enjoyed Paranormal Activity 3. It’ll make you run to your bed after you turn out the light and wonder if you’re about to be tossed about by some invisible monster. So, grab your date, snuggle up  in some remote seats, and enjoy the thrills and chills of the newest Paranormal Activity.

I give Paranormal Activity 3 4 “White-Sheet Ghosts” out of 5

Happy Halloween, Everybody!

By Blake Edwards


About Blake

Hi...I'm Blake and I'm a Cinephile. I've been this way since I can remember, although the environment I grew up in certainly contributed to my condition. As much as I love writing about films, I hope you all know that I write this for you. Look at me, Readers. It's all for you!

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