"Paranormal Activity 3" Film Review

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) - IMDb

"Paranormal Activity 3" Film Review

Rating: 4/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    After two films in the acclaimed franchise, "Paranormal Activity", the filmmakers returned for a third film, this time going back to 1988, exploring where the events of the first two films started. The first film, which was a major hit, had me excited for the other films in this franchise. Yet, the second, which was a massive disappointment, made me lose faith in there being a great sequel to this series of movies. However, "Paranormal Activity 3" is so great and spooky that I would say it compares to that of the original, if not being more scary and thrilling. 

    The movie follows younger versions of our two major characters of the franchise, Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown). When strange things start happening around the house with their imaginary friend, Toby, their mom's boyfriend, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) decides to set up cameras around the house, to try and document the scary things that are happening around them. 

    This film is perhaps much creepier than the first two installments. Even though it uses cheap jump scares in attempt to scare the audience, it genuinely provides some frights along the way. There are many to choose from to mention, but I think I'll talk about the scene with the ghost-like appearance of the sheet. We are seeing through a camera that is set on a dolly to go back and forth, constantly showing us the left side of the house (the living room) and the right side (the kitchen). One time around, we see a small, childlike figure with a sheet over its head standing by the door. When we come back, it is gone. Then we see the kitchen once more, and the ghost is standing behind the baby-sitter who is doing her homework. Right before the camera moves to the left side of the house, the sheet just falls, revealing nothing and no one underneath it. It is definitely creepy, and leaves a sick and eerie feeling in the viewer's stomach.

    Yet, not to spoil the film, the ending is absolutely terrifying, and is definitely the scariest scene so far in the horror franchise. It leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat, making them very jumpy with whatever the character handling the camera comes across. It's so well executed and almost perfectly shot that it creates an atmosphere of dread and evil. 

    The thing that is different about this film is that we interact a lot with two small little girls, who are plagued by this evil demon. If you are a horror fan, you will know that young children are perhaps some of the scariest characters in a horror movie, and this film is no exception. The girls are so innocently creepy that it creates the perfect atmosphere and mood for the whole film. The two little girls have excellent on-screen presence, and can really sell the horror of every scene they're in very well. 

    The film does take quite a while to get to the point, but from there, it really takes off, showing that none of the characters are safe. From about the halfway mark, the viewer is not safe to relax or is given a moment to catch their breath. They throw scare after scare at us, and as the viewer, we just have to sit and take it. Yet, it is done so in such a way that it doesn't feel too claustrophobic or feels like too much. It's about the right amount for the film to get the horror of it to the viewer. 

    I am happy to report that we received a fantastic sequel to a great first film. If only we could just totally forget about the second film and jump to this one, I think the series would have a lot more praise than it is given.