Paranormal Activity 3

By Geoff Ratliff

One of the responsibilities that comes along with doing movie reviews for Pop Fly Boys is that I often attend movies that I would not normally see. I have pretty diverse taste in films so this happens only occasionally, but Paranormal Activity 3 was one of those instances.

I have not seen parts one or two, but it was my understanding that would not necessarily affect my ability to judge this one. Word on the streets is that the first two movies in this “horror” genre – about real stories of people’s house being inhabited by ghosts and the events being captured on video tape – were pretty good. This is not surprising because the formula for success for horror films of this type – really pioneered by the original Blair Witch Project released in 1999 – is pretty simple. Have some relatable characters following some ancient tale of witchcraft, provide some intense sequences that keeps the audience on edge and provides a few spooks, and end the movie in a way that makes the whole thing not seem utterly stupid.

By that standard, Paranormal Activity 3 actually acquits itself pretty well. It follows the story of a family of four – a mother, her two daughters, and her new husband – who move into a new house, only two find that the youngest child’s imaginary friend Toby may not be so imaginary. For some unknown reason, the husband has set up video cameras all over the house to capture his family’s night time activities and starts to discover some pretty creepy things while reviewing the tapes everyday. Pretty soon the entire family realizes that something’s not quite right, and they flee the home only to escape the horror.

I’m one of those people who can have an entire movie experience ruined by the last 5-10 minutes, and PA3 came close to doing that. The story was engaging to me and the acting was not distracting to me at all. While starting out a little slow, there were enough tense moments to satisfy fans of this genre of film. Ultimately though, the ending seemed a little abrupt to me. It made sense if you took some time to piece it together, but I felt that a little more connectivity with some themes that were alluded to throughout the film would have made it more satisfying.

I imagine that fans of the first two films in the series will walk away satisfied, but for someone who grew up in the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street era, I felt a little something missing here.

Follow Geoff on Twitter @snglemarriedguy

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