“Paranormal Activity 3″ has interesting visuals but few new ideas
Two weeks ago, “Paranormal Activity 3″ opened in theatres. According to Moviefone.com, the movie was estimated to have earned more than $54 million in its opening weekend. This is hardly a surprise given the success of the first two installments of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise.
The premise is easy enough to follow: the entire story is told roughly 18 years before the first two movies, following the life of the young Katie (from the first film) and Kristi (from the second), detailing the startling events of their childhood, and how they came to grow up under the care of their grandmother. Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi, (Jessica Tyler Brown) live with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner), and their mother’s boyfriend, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith).
The problems begin when Kristi starts talking to her invisible friend, “Toby,” who—shock of shocks—ends up being less benevolent than once expected. Dennis is the only one who believes that “Toby” isn’t just a figment of Kristi’s imagination and slowly convinces his wife that his suspicions are correct. The story relies less on the character’s communication and more on video evidence of the strange happenings within the household.
“Paranormal Activity 3″ seems to have an equal amount of virtues and flaws. The film is fantastically well made. Beyond that, the dialogue is believable (for the most part), and the characters are interesting enough for viewers to be at least mildly invested in their well-being by the end of the movie. It offers the same level of fear as the other two movies, as well—that, however, is not a good thing.
The first movie had a level of ingenuity and innovation that really shocked audiences, and brought about a new level of fear; the second movie had the same effect, but instead of a new take on the idea, it was just the same thing. The third movie was simply a remake of the first two— meaning that you were expecting the lamp to move, the other adult to not believe anything was wrong until it was too late, the sudden, action- packed ending and the short, “Ooooh, what will happen next?” ending. This movie could be seen as the beginning of another “Saw” movie franchise, with a wonderful first installment followed by money-grubbing travesties that simply wept desperation (like all the other “Saw” movies).
The movie was good if you’re easily scared, or if you’re a die-hard fan of the “Paranormal Activity” series, but for horror movie buffs or people expecting an entirely new take on the popular movie series, you’ll be a little disappointed in the end. All in all, “Paranormal Activity 3″ was worth watching once, but it will fade quickly from memory and end up a shadow of its predecessors.