PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
Premise: Another prequel to the first Paranormal Activity. This third entry in the horror franchise that killed Saw takes us back to 1988, where home video footage captures a demon terrorizing young Kristi and Katie.
Behind-the-Scenes: Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman earned the gig by keeping mum on whether their last film, the effective Internet cautionary tale Catfish, was real or fake.
The Good: Part 3 is just as good as the first two movies. If anything, it's even scarier. The characters are a lot less annoying this time around, and the two young actresses are wholly believable - you almost worry about their safety doing this movie. The found footage tricks of the first film are still around, but Part 3 has some fun with them and keeps the audience on their toes, rather than settle for familiarity. The use of a camera on a rotating fan base, as it scans back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen is clever. I could barely look at the screen during the last 20 minutes - it gets pretty intense.
The Bad: The scares are of the "boo! gotcha!" kind and are easily shrugged off and laughed at after they're over. Nothing really too creepy or unsettling here - it never goes for the jugular like it could. Paranormal 3 is no doubt effective (and after three movies, it has the formula down to a science), but I can't help but resent sitting through all the downtime and red herring visual cues that take up most of the movie's screen time. I like my fright flicks to be a little more stylish - I much preferred April's Insidious for this type of thing.
Should You See It?: If you enjoyed the other Paranormal movies, then definitely. If not, no need to start watching them now. Part 3 sticks the landing to a solid trilogy though. I just hope the studio quits while its ahead. With a $50 million opening weekend in the cards, however, I don't see that happening. See you next year for Part 4.
Rating: *** out of 5 stars.