Paranormal Activity 3
paranormal activity | paranormal activity 3 | sequel | henry joost | ariel schulman | christopher landon | chloe csengery | jessica tyler brown | christopher nicholas smith | found footage | found-footage | demon | katie featherston | cult | lauren bittner
Film: Paranormal Activity 3
Director: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Writer: Christopher Landon
Starring: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown and Christopher Nicholas Smith
This is only the second time that I’ve seen this one. It came out while I was working at Family Video. I took this home as a ‘pre-street’ and watched it with my sister. I’ll be honest; I really didn’t care for it at the time. Jaime recommended wanting to see it, since she was sure she never had. Aside from that, I knew that this was a prequel to the previous film in the series. The synopsis is in 1988, young sisters Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) befriends an invisible entity who resides in their home.
The start of the movie here is semi-present, but before the other two Paranormal Activity movies happens. We see Katie (Katie Featherston) and her sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden) as well as her husband Daniel (Brian Boland) while they are fixing up the nursery. The point of this is Katie is going to drop off some stuff while she moves into her new house. One of the boxes she brings over includes tapes from their mother’s boyfriend made while he lived with them. These tapes are the movie we get here.
As the synopsis states, we’re back in 1988. Katie and Kristi are young children. They’re living with their mother of Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend of Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith). Kristi has an imaginary friend by the name of Tobey who everyone in the family just disregards as something normal since many children, including myself, had imaginary friends. It is really only Katie who does like to mock her about it.
Dennis has his own business where he records weddings and makes videos for the couples among other videographer type things. He has a lot of cameras and equipment. One night he gets Julie to agree to make an adult film with him, but an earthquake happens during it. The camera falls and shifts. When it does, it catches dust falling on to something. There is an apparition that is lands on before it disappears. Dennis finds it when looking at the tape; he then sets up cameras around the house to catch things happening. He also enlists the aid of his friend Randy Rosen (Dustin Ingram) who works with him.
His goal is to catch whatever he caught that first night on camera. He does get that, but the more this goes on, the more it upsets Julie. She thinks whatever he is saying is causing her daughters to believe and to be scared. There does seem to be something more going on here and the truth is much scarier than either of them knows.
That’s where I were I want to leave my recap. While reading through my original thoughts as I’m updating this review over top of them, I can see my gripes. I don’t actually dislike this as much as I did that first time. What I think helps here is that I’ve seen Paranormal Activity 4 as well as The Marked Ones. I’ve also rewatched the first and second movie a couple of times before seeing this one here as well.
The first thing that I wanted to comment on here is the found footage aspect that this series is known for. I do have some issues with how much Dennis is filming. I believe that he would. His job is legitimately as a videographer. My issue though is that Julie isn’t on board with it, but does allow it. She gets irate with him as things go on, but she never follows up with her problem with it. Also I don’t know if the technology really works to film as much as he is doing. Being this is 1988; the footage isn’t as grainy as I would like either. None of this actually ruins it, but does affect the realism.
With that out of the way, I want to delve into the story a bit. I do like the idea of this prequel here. We’re seeing the beginnings of Tobey with these sisters. The filmmakers did a great job with continuity here as well. We get to see that picture being that will come back in both Paranormal Activity movies. This one also explains why this entity is following them. If you’re going to continue on with a series, we need to keep making it bigger and this one did that. One of my original gripes was that I didn’t think it worked. I will admit here, I was wrong there. I really liked the reveal and it was creepy overall.
As for the acting here, I’m glad that for the present footage they got back Featherston, Grayden and Boland. We don’t really get a lot of them, it is really more of a cameo. I’m a fan though when you can bring back the same actors when needed. Bittner I really liked as this young mother of two daughters. She looks like she could be from the era, she is attractive and I thought her performance worked. My only issue is that she tells Dennis to stop filming and never follows up with it. She loves him, but my problem here is that he’s not the father. She is putting her children in danger for what he is doing. I know there are women all the time that put their children in bad spots, so it happens. I just wanted her to do a bit more. Smith is good though as the driving force for this footage. I believe he would film a lot of what he does. Csengery and Brown are good as these two children. Neither is great, but as children I don’t expect them to be. Aside from that, Hallie Foote as Grandma Lois helps drive the story along with giving back-story and the rest of the cast rounded this out.
The last thing I will go over here would be the effects. This, much like the other films in the series don’t have a lot in this department. We do get people being lifted off the ground or pulled fast that were done with some CGI I believe. We don’t get a lot there though and I’m fine for the most part. This one does go farther than the previous two I would say with some things that we get. It needs to as a sequel where we keep pushing the boundaries. Really my only other issue I’ve laid out with how the footage looks and not necessarily fitting the era it is supposed to be filmed during.
In conclusion, I did come down harder on this movie than I should have. This one does some interesting things being that it is a prequel with explaining the back-story for the movies that we’ve gotten. It also makes sense to where the series goes from here as well. The acting works for the realism needed in a found footage movie. Most of the effects that we get here are solid enough. I just have some slight issues with the cinematography and some of the believability with the filming. The soundtrack is diagetic, which I appreciate for helping with the realism and the sound design works for building the scares. This viewing has brought my thoughts up on this one to now being a good movie. If you don’t like the series, you probably won’t like this one. If you like found footage, I think this is an interesting series and this is just continuing on with the story.
My Rating: 8 out of 10