Aug 05, 2020

Paranormal Activity 3 proves more terrifying and entertaining than its predecessors

The original Paranormal Activity film began a trilogy of movies that held a simple, yet entertainingly terrifying  premise.

The third installment promises even more jumps and screams than the previous films and offers the perfect Halloween fright for movie-goers.

In the original film a couple sets up a camera to record a ghost they believe is haunting their house.  We the audience, along with the couple, watch the footage to witness what happened.

The couple, Katie and Micah, were right about being haunted.

Now in Paranormal Activity 3, we witness how the terror began.

The movie starts in 2005 as we see Kristie (Sprague Grayden) eagerly awaiting the birth of her baby.  Her sister, Katie (Katie Featherstone), comes to visit.

While visiting, Katie found a couple of boxes filled with old family memories.  Inside the box are old videos. These videos contain footage of the happy memories of Katie and Kristie’s childhood. It also possesses terrifying footage of something else.

Back in the late 1980s, Julie (Lauren Bittner) got married for a second time with a man named Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), who was a wedding photographer. Dennis was a great dad to young Katie (Chloe Csengery) and young Kristie (Jessica Tyler Brown).

He even takes it in stride when Kristie mentions her imaginary friend, Toby.

As Kristie continues to insist Toby is real, Dennis and Julie begin to worry and hear weird noises.

Dennis then decides to install three cameras to find out what is going on. One camera is installed in the living room, another in his room and the final camera is installed in Katie’s and Kristie’s room.

Turns out that Toby is more than just an imaginary friend. He’s a ghost. Initially he appears to be friendly, only pulling the occasional trick on the family. He doesn’t do anything too threatening.

However, as the movie goes on, it becomes very clear that he wants something and he will do anything to get what he wants. Toby begins to show that he has ways of letting others know what will happen if they defy him.

The first Paranormal Activity film was dreadfully slow. Yes, I will even go as far as to say it was boring.

In the third installment directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman decided to take a more thrilling approach to the script and it pays off with fantastic results.

They start the film out with some simple scares, just doing things to make the audience jump a little bit. As the movie progresses, however, Joost and Schulman decide to increase the fear level and show the audience just how terrifying they can be.

Writers Christopher B. Landon and Oren Peli set out to make Paranormal Activity  a trilogy.

Both had done work on the previous films. Peli wrote and directed the first film and was on hand to help write this script.

In this film, with help from Landon, the story flowed much better. The third film really tests to see if the audience was paying attention to the other two.

In the first one, a scene is depicted in which it is revealed that the spirit wants Katie.  Now we know why it wanted her.

I was really surprised by this movie.  I thought it would lame and boring like the first one.

However, it is far more exciting. The pace of the film begins a little slow. As the film progresses, however, the terror becomes more and more intense, making you wish it was still boring.

The acting of both young actresses, Chloe and Jessica as the two young sisters, is worth applauding.  It actually felt as though they were not acting, but were actually scared.

The camera work improved dramatically from the other films. It is far clearer and much more precise.

In this installment, Dennis is an actual videographer.  So he’s able to use his skills to capture every terrifying moment.  He even has the smart idea to install one of the cameras on a swivel mount that rotates back and forth.

Not only does this look cool, but it adds to the suspense as you fight to pay close attention to both sides of the screen.

Most sequels are terrible.  They bring shame to their predecessors. Paranormal Activity 3 shatters this belief.  It is scarier and more entertaining.

If the first two films scared you, be careful. If you think the spirit was scary before, it’s more powerful.  Just be thankful it wants the people in the movie and not you.

Previous Story

Notes & Asides, 10-26-11

Next Story

Letters to the Editor, 10-26-11