Monday 20 February 2012

Today's Review: Paranormal Activity 3

Now that Saw is all over (apparently), it's time for Paranormal Activity to step up to the mark and deliver a new movie every year. Number four is already confirmed, so look out for that in October. But here we are with number three, a prequel that shows our two hapless female victims from the first two movies as cute little kiddies with some spiritual difficulties.

Yes, Paranormal Activity is set in 1988, but it still manages to feature a character who has access to several full HD video cameras, which were apparently the thing to have if you video taped weddings for a living. On to video tapes. I'm not going to dwell on this too much, instead let's look at the paranormal activity.

It's basically the same kind of formula as before. Adults start filming everything because their new cameras are cool, some strange noises happen, more cameras are set up in fixed locations, and the jump scares begin. In fact, some of the jump scares are almost identical to the ones seen in Paranormal Activity 2, but hey, there's not many things you can do with flying furniture and crashes in the night I suppose, and it still managed to do a very good job of making me jump, if only due to my natural reflexes to jump at loud noises.

We are dealing with the same entity after all, as evidenced by the fact that whenever it's nearby there's a strange rumbling reminiscent of a large truck driving past the house. While the suspense is certainly thick throughout the movie, I feel that if the rumbling wasn't there it would be a lot more effective in the scares. Instead we know something's going to happen, it's probably going to be something sudden that makes us jump, and while it still works, I couldn't help but feel like I'd seen it all before.

The actors in this movie do a pretty good job though, especially the two girls. Where Paranormal Activity 2 stepped up the creepy mark by including a baby, number three went even further, validly assuming that the creepiest thing to put into a horror movie is freaky girls. Even though the actresses are quite young, they certainly pull off convincing and eerie performances, and the whole thing still feels kind of real, even though we know it's not.

At the end of it all though, it's hard to see exactly where this franchise is going. The initial unique scares seem to be wearing thin, and the more that the lore is explored the more over the top and complicated it gets. While there are many mysteries left to resolve in future sequels, it just seems like they're dragging it out to keep pulling in the big bucks. While Paranormal Activity 3 certainly is a nice addition to the series, you can definitely tell the novelty is really wearing off.

My rating: 3/5

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