Initially, I wanted to give Paranormal Activity 3 zero stars for bringing absolutely nothing new to the franchise, but then I realized that this sequel does something much better than the original two – it only shows the annoying adult versions of Katie and Kristi for two minutes. That alone has to be worth one star, right?
The sisters only appear in the opening scene of Paranormal Activity 3. They establish the fact that when the home was broken into in Paranormal Activity 2, the only thing stolen was a box of their dead grandmother’s homes video tapes from the basement. The “new footage” that comprises Paranormal Activity 3 comes from those missing tapes. (If they are supposed to be missing, how are we supposed to be watching them?)
If the filmmaking style of the first two Paranormal Activitys bothered you, get ready to be really annoyed. Since grandma didn’t keep up with technology, her movies were on VHS tapes. That’s right, get ready for a low-definition handheld movie.
The videos that we watch in Paranormal Activity 3 take place in 1988 when Katie and Kristi were elementary school age. Nothing happens in 3 that didn’t happen in the other two. There are loud thumps and low frequency rumbles. Lamps swing and furniture occasionally moves. Someone stands in a long time-lapse video. A bed spread and walking sheet rise and fall. Paranormal Activity 3 only comes up with one new way to make audiences jump: characters pop in front of the camera and yell “Boo!” No joke. It happens twice. That’s how far this dead horse franchise has come.
As for furthering the story, Paranormal Activity 3 sheds no new light on the series – at least, nothing of value. The one big reveal that comes at the end feels like a joke and should come as no surprise to anyone. During Paranormal Activity 2, you probably made this connection, but disregarded it because of how silly it would be. Just before the camera shuts off in Paranormal Activity 3, we learn why all of this has been happening to this one family over the last 20 years – and it’s not very original nor impressive. Hint: If you thought this franchise was a rip of The Blair Witch Project already, just wait until the reveal.
If you’re dying to see a good horror movie this Halloween, skip Paranormal Activity 3 and check out The Thing. Both are prequels, but only one is successfully original, creative, entertaining and worthwhile – and it’s not Paranormal Activity. Go see The Thing.
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures