Overview: If you want to enjoy the film, start a timer at the beginning. When it reaches 80 minutes, get up and leave.
Rating: 4/5 for first 80 minutes, 1/5 for the last five minutes.
Paranormal Activity 3 is the third instalment of the Paranormal Activity franchise, which began with a bang in 2007. The films follow the fate of one family who are all haunted by the same demonic presence. The first film featured couple Katie and Micah as they set up a camera in their bedroom to catch the paranormal occurrences that were happening around them; the second film then followed Katie’s sister Kristi, and her young family, as their surveillance cameras filmed similar activity; the third film is a prequel to the early films and looks at Katie and Kristi’s childhood and the first haunting that occurred.
Phew! With this very brief run through Paranormal history I think you can see that for the third film the premise was pretty well set up. We know what we are expecting when we go into the cinema. However, this film goes away from that a little and professes to explain all the answers behind the haunting. This wasn’t really what I was looking for, but finding out why these girls were targeted by a demon was not undesirable, because then I could avoid doing what they did! Oren Peli, director and creator of Paranormal Activity and producer of Paranormal Activity 2 was once again signed on to produce Paranormal Activity 3. The directors of the third instalment were Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman who were the directors of Catfish, another fly-on-the-wall documentary style film, and so it seemed that all the bases were covered.
With this promising start the film took off and there were lots of scares and lots of jumps. At one point I heard a slap beside me as my friend’s hands clapped onto her face, and at another I thought I heard a woman crying. There were also quite a few laughs, not at things that should have been scary, that wouldn’t have been good, but at actual moments of comedy. Although some people think this feature of the film was misplaced I though it was nice to lighten the tension. The actors were all good, including the child actors playing young Katie and Kristi who had to pull a lot of the film on their own. What was also dealt with nicely was the fact that PA3 was set in 1988 and so the technology had to be different. I personally felt this part of the film was very enjoyable, seeing the 80’s clothes and watching them take apart an oscillating fan so that they could get a moving shot was quaint, especially when someone had to go out and buy more tapes! Awwww!
One clever trick that the filmmakers used was that no footage from the trailer was used in the film. That way you never saw what was coming. As the film progressed I was thinking about this trailer footage and thought what a good idea it was. However, now that I am sat at home reflecting on the film I feel different. Where is the film from the trailer? The one that seemed to make sense with the story? I want to see that film. You see the problem was that the last five minutes of Paranormal Activity 3 ruined the previous eighty minutes that I had been really enjoying. I can’t tell you why because that would be a massive spoiler but trust me it doesn’t fit and it leaves you with so many questions. Maybe they’ve done this so they can make Paranormal Activity 4: The Explanation, but to me it seems as though the money has gone to their head and they just don’t feel the need to make sense anymore. Since I can’t tell you anything else about the terrible ending let me just say this; as soon as the lights went up in the theatre a man to my left said ‘Sh*t’ and I completely agreed.