Leave the Past Behind? I Don't Think So
Chris Kavan - wrote on 11/11/11
While some franchises wear out their welcomes rather quickly, the Paranormal Activity franchise shows it still has a way to keep things fresh while sticking to the game plan that worked so well in the first two films.
I have to say I really liked the minimalist approach the original took and was a bit disappointed in the sequel. However, this third entry, while not breaking any new ground, still manages to flesh out the story only hinted at in the first two films while maintaining that creeping dread. Although I found the ending to be somewhat anti-climactic (luckily not as terrible as The Last Exorcism) the story leading up to it was a lot of fun.
We're introduced to the young Katie and Christi - along with Christi's imaginary friend, who new dad in the family, Dennis (who, wouldn't you happen to know, tapes weddings for a living) thinks is more than just a figment of her imagination or some passing fad. After an earthquake interrupts a home-made sex tape he notices a shape amidst the dust and does what any concerned adult would do - sets up a camera in his bedroom and the kids room to track down the mysterious form.
Although there are a few too many "gotcha" scares for my taste, they still manage to maintain that creepy atmosphere throughout the film. One idea that is easy to implement is the "fan cam" a camera mounted on an oscillating fan that pans between the living room and kitchen. It's a cheap, yet effective device and serves up some of the best scenes in the film.
As things get out of hand towards the end of the film, the movie takes a strange turn into the world of occult. Let's just say that it is possible to make old ladies even creepier than invisible entities. The film does a nice job of bridging the gap - there is definitely going to be another film, but I find myself wondering what direction they're going to next.
One thing that bothered me was that almost every "whoa" shot from the trailer was nowhere to be found in this movie.Case in points: the mother being dragged out of the bedroom, Christi jumping down from her room to the first floor and the house on fire (eluded to in the first movie but never actually shown here). Whether they're going to be deleted scenes or were just there to get people excited, it was a pretty crappy move.
That being said, Paranormal Activity 3 goes back to the basics and with good effect. The mostly unknown cast does a good job - especially the two young girls - while the chills are kept in to good effect. Those who like the series should be happy.