Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Lauren Bittner, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Hallie Foote
It runs in the family!
This prequel is set 18 years ahead of Paranormal Activity 1 and 2. Kristi and Dan are receiving a bunch of old stuff from Katie that belonged to Kristi and Katie’s grandma. The boxes include a bunch of old VHS tapes. When the house looks like it’s been robbed, the tapes are missing. This part should be familiar to those who have seen the second movie in this trilogy.
We then skip back to the lovely days of 1988 where Kristi and Katie are children, living with their mother Julie and stepfather Dennis. Dennis works as a wedding videographer and enjoys filming the daily lives of his family. When something mysterious happens on camera one night, he gets obsessed and sets up different cameras around the house hoping to catch something in the act.
The idea of setting this in the late 80’s is interesting, but the clothes that the characters wear and the house this is set in is done very lazy. If they did not tell you that this was supposed to be in the 80’s, then you would have never guessed it by just watching the footage. I can’t remember that there where VHS cameras that gave you HD quality picture either.
The scares and effects are mostly done very nicely in this one. I still think that there is a huge potential of using the mirrors and the background more efficiently to set up scares in these movies however. Paranormal Activity 3 also tries to spin the story near the end and tries to bring something new to the table. I thought this decision didn’t work very well and would like to see them going with another direction, but at least they did connect the story of all three movies together here with something new.
The film is directed by the friends Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. They where mostly known for Catfish before this one. I haven’t seen that movie, but they do an ok job here. Like mentioned elsewhere, I would have liked to see more creativity. Rumours say that they will be responsible for the fourth entry aswell.
The acting is alright. The one who shines the brightest is Jessica Tyler Brown who was fantastic as little Kristi. She has the perfect looks and voice to do a movie like this and she steals the film. Chloe Csengery is good as her sister Katie. It’s a nice touch to add children to the movie since that’s always something that is bound to disturb people. They should however have used them more in the creepy scenes in my opinion. Christopher Nicholas Smith is decent as Dennis, Lauren Bittner plays Julie very well and Dustin Ingram shows up as Randy, the friend of Dennis and comic relief. He is a fun character and never goes overboard like most comic relief characters do in horror movies.
Paranormal Activity 3 is a good addition to the saga. I would have prefered it to do something else with the story and also miss some more creativity when it comes to scares, but all in all it’s an enjoyable film. Considering how cheap these are to make, I’m sure we’ll see several more in this series. Preferably with a new story.