Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 25, 2011  | 
Directors: Henry Joost , Ariel Schulman
Stars: Christopher Nicholas Smith, Lauren Bittner, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown
Screnplay: Christopher B. Landon
Country: USA
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First, in this review, a clarification: I don't like the so-called 'found footage' styled horror films. At no time during these films am I ever convinced that maybe, just maybe the footage is 'real'. I didn't fall for The Blair Witch Project, and up to this film, haven't really liked the Paranormal Activity films. To be fair, I have only seen about the first ten minutes of the second one before I decided that cleaning my bathroom was a more entertaining way to spend my afternoon. I find that they are false thrills, and are like going to a theme park to see a film of a roller coaster, rather than actually riding one. That's not to say that I can't appreciate that they are sometimes mainstream enough to bring a new gaggle of horror fans to the front: how many of you reading this 'discovered' horror through watching Blair Witch?

So, as you can imagine, dear reader, it was with much pressure, and an arm pushed up my back until it was almost broken, that I agreed to attend Paranormal Activity 3 at the cinema with my dear wife, who is easily manipulated by cinematic experience and is a hoot to see a horror film with as she jumps and squeals at every scary point, much to my, and sometimes the rest of the cinema's amusement.

Paranormal Activity 3 is unsurprisingly the second sequel to the 2007 original and is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (co-directors of the surprsing Catfish) and is written by Christopher B. Landon (who wrote Paranormal Activity 2 and Hitchcock homage Disturbia) and continues the stories from Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2. And when I say continues, I mean takes place before the second one, just as the second took place before the first one.

This chapter of the saga looks at Katie (the main character from Paranormal Activity) and her sister Kristi (the main character from Paranormal Activity 2 ) as children (played by Chloe Scendery and Jessica Tyler Brown respectively), and the time when the... whatever it is... first started to haunt them. Set in the late 80s, the girls live with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend, who is not their father, Dennis (Christopher Nicolas Smith) who makes a living as a wedding cameraman. Strange things start to happen in their house, noises and other paranormal stuff, after an earthquake, and visits from Kristi's imaginary friend, Toby.

Of course they initially discount Kristi's imaginary friend, but after Dennis sets up three cameras around the house, they see that there may be more to Kristi's fantasies than just those of a young girl's whimsy, and then really weird shit starts to happen. Unexplainable, scary shit.

As I stated I don't like this type of "found footage" film, but this third episode pays much more attention to the story. The... whatever-it-is... is given something of an origin story, and the ending was both surprising and entertaining. The acting all over was of a fairly high standard, and my problem really only comes from two major things. First, the jump scare: so many that they almost became redundant as the film wore on. The other thing that annoys me about these type of films is that the scope of the characters eyesight seems to be limited to that of what we, inside the video camera can only see... one particular event involving the kitchen was particularly ridiculous as the character could have clearly seen what we could not, and shouldn't have been too surprised when it entered the scope of the video camera's lens.

All in all I think this film had the best storyline of the series so far, and had it been filmed in the more traditional cinematic style I would have loved it, but the first person point-of-view annoyed me. On the B side of that, my wife (not a horror fan) was freaked out by the whole thing and loved it... so much that I now have Band Aids up and down my left arm from where her nails dug in on at least 20 occasions. Unfortunately for the filmmakers she is not reviewing this film, I am, and I call it as being ever so slightly above average.

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