Paranormal Activity 3

Film, Horror
2 out of 5 stars
Paranormal Activity 3
2011 Paramount PicturesParanormal Activity 3

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Helmed by ‘Catfish’ directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, this broken-backed prequel to the first two ‘Paranormal Activity’ films is set during the childhood of Katie (Katie Featherstone) and her sister Kristi (Sprague Graydon). This being so, its expanded mythology and familial back-story beg the enormous question: how did the two sisters manage to forget that all the bad shit that happened to them when they were young? Courtesy of some kind of demonic mind-wipe, apparerently – but this is no more convincing than the convenient fact that their mother's boyfriend was a wedding video-maker with access to VHS cameras and a sophisticated editing suite in the basement.

The discovery of a stash of old VHS tapes rings no bells for the older Katie and Kristi, who are seen briefly in March 2005, before these ‘found footage’ home movies catapult us back to their childhood in Carlsbad, California in 1988. Kristi has an imaginary friend called Toby, and there are the usual unexplained nocturnal noises and rattling of pots and pans in the kitchen. This prompts the girls’ curious father to rig up surveillance cameras in the girls’ bedroom, the adults’ bedroom and the open plan kitchen/living room. This last is rigged to a customised fan, allowing a teasingly slow 180-degree sweep of the whole downstairs area.

Only after the requirements of the franchise have been served by the expected noises off and our nervous combing of the fuzzy frame hints of demonic activity, does the film enter fresh territory. Fleeing from their haunted home, the family take refuge at the girls’ grandmother’s house; but the malignant entities are not be denied. The last third of the movie is the scariest, though even it relies on visual and aural devices with which we have become a little too familiar. Most bizarrely, the film starts with the girls’ mother empahasising the heavy, cumbersome nature of the analogue recording equipment and ends with their mother's boyfriend filming the life- and soul-threatening events with a hand-held camera. On balance, depite its myriad contrivances and credibility-stretching lacunae, this is truer to the spirit of the frightening original than last year’s disappointing sequel.

By: Nigel Floyd



Release details

Release date:
Friday October 21 2011
84 mins

Cast and crew

Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Katie Featherston
Sprague Grayden
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