Paranormal Activity 3
Directed by: Henry Boost, Ariel Schulman
3 out of 5 stars
The evil shadow-demon offers some recycled tricks and a few new treats in Paranormal Activity 3. Since there are hardly any horror flicks out, this will most likely constitute one’s choice for thrills at the Cineplex. And I have to say, the film it makes up for the lack of Halloween spirit Hollywood has invested this year.
The plot is introduced with a pregnant Kristi, who was a character in the previous film in the series. She is unpacking with her husband, Daniel, who is video recording their getting ready for the baby. Enter her sister, Katie, with a box of VHS tapes. Remember those things? Hopefully you do, because their grainy quality is used throughout the rest of the movie.
A foreboding hint that the tapes are not filled with warm nostalgia is caught in Katie’s face. She gives her sister the box and leaves. The story begins.
It reaches back to 1988 and follows another young couple, Dennis and Julie, who have two daughters. They live in an affluent-looking home, which appeard to be inherited from Julie’s creepy grandmother.
The rich-family-being-scared-to-death plotline is not such a cliché here; their prosperity, which was investigated in Paranormal Activity 2, is important to the story. It turns out that there are roots to the tale that prove far more sinister than you’d imagine. The story’s plot holds disturbing events, leading to a finale that will make you forget your own name.
I caught Paranormal Activity 3 on opening night, and with the theatre filled with obnoxious under-agers, even their goofiness couldn’t spoil how spooked I was. Now, it takes a lot for me to hold onto the arm rests in nervous anticipation. But, believe me, I did just that.
This was especially true during scenes that featured a new technique introduced by the filmmakers.
Dennis, Katie and Kristi’s new parent-figure (we’re left cryptically out of the loop as to what happened to their real father), is an amateur videographer. He cleverly manipulates the mechanics of an oscillating fan and places a camera on it. It slowly scans between the main entrance, the living room, the kitchen and back again.
The audience views only what the camera sees for brief moments, and you’re expecting anything. I won’t go into details, but this gadget utilizes something naturally eerie that I haven’t seen in horror movies before.
This film is a part of the new generation of reality-based recording. In a time of uploading videos from smartphones to the web so that all can participate in our lives, the movie places you in the subjectivity of the characters.
In horror classics, movies allowed us to merely observe the tension. Now we’re involved through the home-video lens – as culprits, even. We not only see, but experience the horror through the characters.
In short, Paranormal Activity 3 causes both characters and audience to react in the same way. This is as real as it gets.