Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Article by Disgruntled Monkey

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Stars: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown and Christopher Nicholas Smith
Writers: Christopher Landon and Oren Peli

I would love to say that Paranormal Activity improves with each instalment but I’ve seen what’s coming. However, let’s not jump to number 4 just yet. Instead, let us revel in the third movie, which acts as a prequel to the first two films. Thanks to the wonders of VHS we get to step back in time and witness Katie and Kristi when they were young children.

I’ll give Joost and Schulman abundant thumbs up when it comes to setting the time frame for this film. Taking place in 1988 yet presenting the movie in widescreen and high definition might be seen as a strike against a movie that is trying to be found footage. Yet despite the filming technology it still feels like it’s from the 1980’s.

Story wise the series keeps layering on little twists and details and, unbelievably, a movie that started off on a seemingly simple note has bloomed into such an ambitious story. It’s full of tragedy; by heading into the past to see an innocent Katie and Kristi we are enveloped in this perceptive sadness, we know that there is nothing good in the future of these girls. Still a simple tale yet these are what sequels are for, the telling of individual stories while building a massive mythos.

Ghost activity wise we get the standard sort of haunted house scares we have come to expect from the Paranormal Activity series. It’s funny how this unique twist the films had has now become one of the movies weaker components. If you liked the previous movies then you won’t be disappointed, just don’t expect anything too different.

The ol twin in the mirror trick.
Finally I am positively astounded that these movies keep finding ‘unknowns’ that are actually not that bad at acting. Chloe Csengery (Katie) and Jessica Tyler Brown (Kristi) give a solid performance as the two young girls. There are a few sections where their lack of experience shows, however they are not the worst child actors I’ve ever seen and manage to hold their own in some of the tougher scenes. Most of the actors in this movie can be summed up with ‘good - not great’. Still, that’s a great hit ratio compared to some horror movies.

Fans of Paranormal Activity should love this movie; it adds to the mythos of the series and technically, for myself at least, is one of the more interesting instalments. I might even go so far as to suggest this movie to those who weren’t fans of the first two movies, the stronger story might draw you in. Just let it soak in people; this is the high point of the series.

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