Monday, October 31, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity 3 – 85min-R

This is the third installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise. It’s a prequel of sorts as it fills in more of the backstory of the original film. This movie was originally a one trick pony. The first one had unique premise and it was fine as one movie. This is another example of how an idea can get run into the ground. The few good startling bits were separated by long parts where nothing happened but sleeping and panning. This movie did make me afraid: afraid someone would see me coming out of this movie. For all of its attempts to give us character development, it was not enough to make me interested. This movie scares up a red light.

This movie starts in a confusing manner, they lead off with the footage from the break in aftermath of the second film, Katie (Katie Fetherston) brings some stuff over for her sister, Kristi Ray (Sprague Grayden), to store. In one of the boxes are some VHS tapes and on one of those tapes an explanation to how this all started. The footage on the VHS tape shows us how Kate and Kristi Ray begin this haunting journey. Julie (Lauren Bittner) and live-in boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) live together with Julie’s Daughters Katie (Chloe Csengery) eight years old and Kristi Rey (Jessica Tyler Brown) five years old are experiencing a haunting. Dennis is a wedding videographer and captures an odd event after an earthquake. He wants to capture more of the odd things that are going on in the house so he gets more cameras and covers his house completely. We watch through the eyes of the cameras the events that transpired in 1988. One part that I don’t get is the fanatical dedication these characters have for filming every aspect of their lives.

The original was great. It was a very unique idea, like a campfire ghost story, the audience does all the heavy lifting at being scared, however this film is not so interesting to build an entire franchise around. I love the new direction the original took in no sound track and setting the mood without camera tricks. The problem is that when you do the same unique and original idea again it loses its shine the more times you do it. The director (Henry Joost) was following the same formula as the other films. The downside is that the formula really only good once. He paid attention to the styles of the 80’s and the camera technology. I wish he would have paid as much attention to the story. The plot lumbered along in an awkward, choppy manner and was very predictable. There was an odd choice of editing, sometimes they would jump time and sometimes they just sped up time. In the scenes where you have a purpose to speed up time to show an ominous figure watching the main characters sleep is fine. But they did not seem to have the knack of telling what scenes worked like that and what scenes did not. They seemed to just do the edits randomly. The waiting was overly long and the scary parts were quite predictable. Christopher B. Landon wrote this script and his earlier work was better, He wrote Disturbia and as a Rear Window inspired story it was not half bad. He needs to get his edge back.

Spoiler Warning!!!! There Be Ghost of Spoilers here!!!!

The saddest part of the movie is where the girl is playing Bloody Marry in her bathroom. My heart was breaking when she was crying in the corner. I felt really bad for her more than I was scared. Chloe Csengery really made that scene.

I was a bit confused by the start or lead in. It took off from the beginning of the second movie, and took a weird turn from there, leading to the past by indicating that a VHS tape from 1988 has the history of how they started to become haunted. The timeline is a bit muddled. I guess they thought they needed to do it that way to fit into the franchise.

I really don’t have anything more to say about the film other than it should have been left alone from the first installment. What other movies have been overused and should have been left alone?


WydeOpen said...

It's funny, every complaint that you had about this sequel were my original thoughts about the original. I was completely bored out of my mind with the pacing and superficial thrills of the first one.
I had no intention of seeing either one of the sequels and your review has confirmed my decision.

Fat Samurai said...

It is telling when the trailer for a film has only the audience reactions to your film and almost none of your film.

You are right these moves are a very long walk. It’s a bit like watching security footage, long stretches with nothing going on. as a film maker one thing I appreciated is the new spin on the horror genre. It moves away from the loud music and sound effects. The campy “scared you” tricks are not used and puts the scaring work on the viewers shoulders.