by Tom Malley
On Oct. 21, the third installment of the Paranormal Activity series was released in theaters. The Paranormal movies are notorious for their vague camera angles and innovative approach to horror. Although Paranormal Activity 3 uses similar devices, the movie fails to surpass the visceral terror of the earlier films
In this installment the movie shifts back to 1988, when two main characters from the earlier films, Katie and Kirsti, are still young children. When Kirsti starts talking to her “imaginary friend” Toby, things start to take a turn for the paranormal.
Paranormal Activity 3 uses many of the same tricks that have terrified moviegoers in the previous two films, but it throws in a few new scare tactics as well. The most obvious change is the personification of the demon, Toby. Although Toby is still terrifying, this change takes away from the movie’s horror factor. By giving the demon a name, the movie leaves less to the viewer’s imagination.
The most effective aspect of the movie is its cinematography. Paranormal Activity 3 is narrated by Dennis, a wedding videographer romantically involved with the girls’ mother. When inexplicable events begin to occur, he decides to set up video equipment around the house. The cameras are set up at limiting yet effective angles. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman use the cameras to add to the film’s mystery and uncertainty, leaving much to the viewer’s imagination.
Throughout the movie there are scenes that leave viewers on the edge of their seats and then curled up in a ball, afraid to keep watching. True horror fans will love these bone-chilling scenes. However, the movie also has its fair share of fake scares, which are more annoying than frightening.
Compared to the previous films, this installment wastes no time jumping into things of paranormal nature. The events don’t get progressively more intense, and this takes away from the film. Some nights are very uneventful, while other nights are extreme. This inconsistency leaves the moviegoer scared—but not terrified— with the start of each scene.
However, Paranormal Activity 3 is still not a movie for the faint of heart. Regardless of your feeling towards the series, there will be times during this movie when your heart rate will spike and your adrenaline will pump. The uncertainty of what is going to happen next and the first person point of view make Paranormal Activity 3 a movie well worth seeing, but don’t be disappointed if it isn’t quite the same experience of the previous films.