Film Review: Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

If you like ghosts and witchcraft and shaky camerawork...then, you'll love Paranormal Activity 3.

So, the first film was a clever little found footage horror film made on the cheap that actually delivered well-paced supernatural thrills and decent character development with a bit of a faulty ending (Spielberg tampered with the original ending). The second film was more of the same...but, it actually pushed the story a bit further and set things up nicely for this new prequel of sorts.

Paranormal Activity 3 continues what the first two films introduced. That trademarked voyeuristic quiet unease of a video camera recording something that is about to happen. This pretty much happens throughout the entire film. In fact, that's pretty much the strength of these films...the ability to make your heartbeat race with only the use of noise and darkness.

This time around the premise takes place back in 1988...back when Katie and Kristi were really young girls living with their hot mom, Julie (played by Lauren Bittner who looks great in skinny jeans) and her live-in boyfriend, Dennis. Dennis (played by Christopher Nicholos Smith) kind of looks like an odd hybrid of James Franco and Baba Booey. He also runs his own wedding video company with his buddy Randy and has access to various cameras and editing equipment. Randy is actually my favorite character in the whole film. He's played by Dustin Ingram and he represents the film's comedy relief as well as the guy I related to the most. One day Dennis hears all kinds of noises and immediately starts placing all these huge cameras all over the house in hopes of catching some kind of paranormal activity.

Later that night, while Dennis and Julie (who, incidentally, looks great in a pair of panties) are busy trying to record an amateur sex tape, they hear noises which then turns into some sort of earthquake. The next day Dennis finds that he captured something weird on the tape. So, he really starts getting into this ghost adventure. Unfortunately, for Dennis, we already know that these be demons he's dealing with. A demon named Toby.

Anyway, the film pretty much gets going rather quickly and there are some really solid scares that do a nice job of sending chills down your spine and the finale kind of takes a new spin on the established premise. It's a finale that some will hate and some will embrace. Personally, I didn't really care for it one way or the other. It was just there. Also, I just couldn't help feeling like I've been here two times before.

I'm also kinda getting tired of people taking their camcorder everywhere they go. The recent film Atrocious suffered from this same found footage trap. I mean...I get that it's kind of necessary for the sake of the sub genre...but, there seriously comes a time when you gotta put the damn camera down, grab your kids and get the fuck outa dodge. Especially when you consider how bulky a camcorder from the 80's can be.

Oh...and what happened to all that shit they showed in the trailers???

I should mention that the director duo responsible for 2010's Catfish, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, are responsible for helming this film. However, it's really not much of a most of the structures of these scares have pretty much become standard fare in these films.

Paranormal Activity 3 is a decent addition to the franchise that will no doubt see more future installments...seeing as how the film broke records on its opening weekend with its 5 million dollar budget and all. You have to seriously wonder, though. The first film was made for a measly $15K. Wouldn't you just make the rest of the films for around the same price and just rake in the mammoth profit afterwards? I mean...all the films look pretty much the same...and they use relative unknown actors. So, where is the budget going into? Who knows? All I know is that I'm not gonna say "Bloody Mary" three times in front of a darkened mirror anytime soon.

3 out of 5

Thanks for reading,