Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Scary - "Paranormal Activity 3"

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Scary - "Paranormal Activity 3"


Genre: Horror

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.

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