‘Tis The Season: ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ (Movie Review)

Like it or hate it, its Halloween season and you know what that means.  No!  It’s not another Saw movie.  I think we all kind of had enough of those after the last stinker.  Instead, it’s the new Saw-like franchise of the 10’s that took the world by storm in 2009, Paranormal Activity.  That’s right ladies and gentleman.  Paranormal Activity, aptly titled Paranormal Activity 3, is back with a vengeance, but this time around the third outing serves as a prequel, set some 18 years prior to the events of the first two connected films.  The low budget, supernatural horror film hits theaters this Friday, October 21st, but you can read all about my first impressions below before heading out in this never-ending rainy weather, depending upon where you live of course.  In hindsight, I suppose the dreary weather most of us are experiencing serves a purpose as a most righteous backdrop for horror films and Halloween.  ‘Tis the season!

Paranormal Activity 3, as the tagline exclaims, gives us a chance to discover how the activity began some 18 years ago.  Now, like I said before, like them or hate them, there’s no denying that this franchise is a huge cash cow for Paramount Pictures.  I mean, let’s take a closer look at the first film under a microscope.  The film was made for an unheard amount of only $15,000 and yielded over 193 million dollars at the box office.  Do I even need to do the math for you to tell you how much money that equates to?  It’s hope in movies like this that have actors around the world seriously considering deferments over a straight salary.  And why not, look at what Insidious did this year at the box office?  It tore it up!  So I hate to keep saying this, but like it or hate it, this third film had to be made.  Paramount would have been stupid not to.

Like Carpenter’s Halloween compared to Zombie’s version, the Paranormal Activity films create fear, shrills and out-of-your-seat jumps using tension and slow burning/building apprehension techniques, rather than straight-out gore, in-your-face violence and sometimes, needless/gratuitous brutality.  If you are a fan of non-stop action, brutal violence and senseless gore, then these films are not for you.  They are for the more sophisticated crowd who love and appreciate a good scare, but are not afraid to spend a slow-burning 80+ minutes in a theater chair to achieve that euphoria.  I’ll admit, the Paranormal Activity bug did not smite me when I first heard about the film back in 2009.  If memory serves me correct, I remember actually being dragged to the theater by my wife and fellow reviewer Gregg Senko.  I had zero interest in the film.  It takes a lot to scare me, horror movie wise, but I have absolutely no shame in admitting that a lot of the moments of quiet unease within the film actually produced blood curdling sensations down my spine and made the hair on my gigantic masculine arms stand straight up.  For that, I applaud the franchise.  Box office proceeds aside, if they are scaring me, then they’re doing something right

Paranormal Activity 3 features returning actresses Katie Featherson as Katie and Sprague Grayden as Krsisti as well as Chloe Cserngey as young Katie, Jessica Tyler Brown as young Kristi, Brian Boland, Lauren Bittner, Christopher Nicholas Smith and Mark Fredrichs.  Sorry all you Micah Sloat fans.  There’s sadly no appearance of Micah in this film.  I don’t believe that’s a spoiler, is it?  Meanwhile, the director’s chair is filled this time around by Catfish‘s Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost.

So what’s it all about?  Well, it’s 1988!  The two young sisters we have come to know and love these past two years, Katie and Kristi, discover that they are not alone in their home.  And by that I mean, there’s an invisible entity haunting them.  Boo!  Although the entity starts out friendly, like most poltergeists do according to my own research in the field, it quickly turns hostile and starts balls-out terrorizing the family.  But wait!  Here’s the kicker!  In 2009, the terror was captured on Micah’s HD prosumer video camera.  In 2010, strategically positioned security cameras recorded most of the hauntings.  This time around it’s VHS, baby!

So the final verdict is…it’s the best one yet in my opinion.  There’s a lot going for it.  For starters, action junkies will get off on the fact that the hauntings start almost immediately in this third outing.  And better yet, for all the hormone raging red-blooded American males out there, the mom is hot!   At least to me she is.  But seriously, if you want the majority of your loose ends tied up and are even remotely curious as to why Kristi and Katie seem so prone to being haunted, then the movie theater is the place you need to be this dreary October weekend.  I enjoyed it so much that I would even recommend paying evening prices if that’s all you can accommodate in your schedule.  Look at me.   Laugh out loud.  Even in the midst of telling you how much I enjoyed a flick I’m still trying to save you money.  Am I a nice guy or what?  Now that’s not to say that this third entry won’t leave you wanting more at the ending like its predecessors do, but that’s the nature of the beast here.  You got to take what you can get.  The Paranormal Activity mythology is well developed here, provides its fair share of scares and comedy and I will go out on a limb and say hell yeah, they can do one more to take things even further.  We all know people would pay for that.  So what say you Paramount?  I want more!  Green light number four please!




Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

6 Responses to “‘Tis The Season: ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ (Movie Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Who played the mom? I’m interested. 😉

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    I had enough Saw movies after the first, I’m all for the ‘Paranormal’ series. Looking forward to this one at midnight tonight, the only way I’ve seen these films, with my adult male friend who shrieks like a girl in horror movies.

    And it’s from the creators of Catfish to boot, which has me even more excited.

  3. Tina

    So after all of the hype of Paranormal Activity, I had to watch it and my thoughts were…BORING! There were maybe one or two times I jumped but mostly I was bored. So I haven’t wanted to watch PA2, but I may have to just to see this one.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    That’s too bad, Aaron. I didn’t care for the PA, all cared about was reading up on how Oren made the first film for only 15k. That was much more fascinating than the films themselves.

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    I dig it. Big crowd, middle of the night, in the dark. The only way to watch these movies.

  6. Sandy

    i get scared every time i see the preview – can’t wait!!!