I cannot believe I am saying this, but I just finished watching the third installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise and as much as I hated the first two films this time around, I really enjoyed the entire viewing experience it manages to create. The franchise takes the popular route of using a prequel to tie up any loose ends created by the previous two films in this year’s entry. Primarily the film takes place in 1988, and shows us how the entity from the previous movies became attached to Katie. After moving into a new house Katie starts talking to an imagery friend named Toby, soon afterwards strange things start happening causing her father to set up cameras in every corner of the house hoping to discover what’s behind the happenings. Just like the previous films, this is the point things start to escalate turning the young families lives up side down.
Early on into Paranormal Activity 3, I started to get the vibe that this was going to be a very different experience than my encounters with the earlier films of the franchise. I believe an early scene in the film is a direct homage to Poltergeist and it was this moment that I really felt myself start to be drawn in. The movie still uses found footage as its means of telling the story, only in a much more polished and seamless feeling fashion. The main plot unfolds at a very nice natural pace; doing a wonderful job at increasing the tension little by little until the point, you become completely paranoid of every little sound and movement on screen.
The character development is a lot stronger this time as well, the relationship between each of the family members feels much more realistic, the way they communicate and react in situations are highly believable creating a authentically unnerving viewing experience once things start to go terrible wrong in the house. The scares were rather clever at times and they do a good job at keeping you guessing to as when the next jump tactic will be used, I’ll openly admit that I jumped a few times during the movie, something that I rarely experience anymore. Going into the film I had very little hopes, but am able to admit when I was wrong, in my opinion this third installment is solid and the best choice when it comes to a movie choice this Halloween.
The special effects have been fine tuned, really showcasing the fact that there are still many new and innovative things that can be done in the realm of recreating a terrifyingly realistic paranormal experience on the big screen. To not spoil anything I will only say that I was impressed with how psychical the entity becomes, and how real the interaction between the actors and the invisible force were portrayed. The actresses who played Katie and Kristi as little girls do a great job; their performances really steal the show and make the ordeal so much more emotional as you see what they are going through.
I did notice many scenes shown in the trailer were absent from the theatrical cut of the film, I’m not sure if this was to keep from making the same mistake as many other films and spoiling key moments but still being able to produce hype, or if there will simply be multiply cuts released at some junction like the earlier films. Either way, I appreciated this small detail as it kept most of the scares a mystery.
Overall I think Paranormal Activity 3 genuinely moves the paranormal sub-genre forward and is the perfect choice this Halloween season to get your blood pumping and your heart ready for another year of screams. This film was able to turn this avid hater of the franchise into a reborn believer, who now looks forward to future installments. I am curious to see how much further they can take things as special effects technology continues to grow on a daily basis. If you are on the fence about this one, do yourself a favor and go catch this one will it is still on the big screen it will make the experience 10 times more enjoyable and effective.