Packed with plenty of gotcha moments, Paranormal Activity 3 will make you jump several times. The problem is, we already know the formula and that takes a lot of the frightful edge away.
Set in 1988, we again get a home video obsessed guy who must catch on VHS, the things in his home that are going bump in the night. The added twist of the backstory of the original Katie from Paranormal Activity 1 is a wasted point.
To set up the scary faux-documentary, we’re to believe that were looking back on real archival footage. Dennis, a wedding videographer, has moved in with hot 80’s mom Julie. They live a happy life with Julie’s two daughters Katie and Kristi. One night, Dennis accidentally catches Kristi’s imaginary friend Toby on camera and becomes infatuated. Things escalate poorly for the family.
With just a few exceptions, I almost never recommend the 3rd chapter in a film franchise. That rule is still in effect here. I will admit to jumping several times. That’s the point of watching a movie like this.
In fact, based on this movie, PA1 makes much less sense. SPOILER AHEAD: In this film, young Katie from 1988 befriends the mysterious demon. Are we to assume that her demon friend is the same one that possesses Katie from 2009? The older Katie is more a victim of her boyfriend’s misguided actions. Did the demon and Katie’s relationship mean nothing all those years?
There was something fun I took away from this film. It was in the technical use of a surveillance style point of view, where the camera pans back and forth. I am a lover of puzzles where you have to figure out the difference between two pictures. In this case, the viewer’s perspective pans to the left, so look for the thing that sticks out in the frame. Pan to the right, then back to the left and see what’s spookily changed. I am a film technique lover, so I actually enjoyed this.
Still, would you go see a movie based on someone’s thrill that the camera panned back & forth? I don’t think so. That’s something for movie nerds like me.
The bottom line is, you will be scared with PA3, even if it’s for the lack of creativity.