The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Paranormal Activity 3

By Joshua knopp/managing editor

This family shouldn’t be allowed to buy video cameras anymore.Paranormal Activity 3 follows the series’ pattern of more recent installments being set further back in time. This one goes 18 years back into the childhood of Katie Featherston (Chloe Cserngey, Katie Featherston) and Kristi Rey (Jessica Tyler Brown, Sprague Grayden), which is alluded to heavily in the previous films. Paranormal Activity 3 chronicles the first haunting by the demon, which initially was a friend.

The Paranormal movies have lived and died with the characterization of the demon, and it comes off differently in each film. In the first, it was a completely unsympathetic being composed of malevolence and fear, and it’s apparent lack of motive was the deepest terror. In the second, it was a calculating villain with a firm goal in mind and was nowhere near as scary.

In the new installment, it is portrayed as a friend to Kristi, whom she eventually scorns. It becomes sympathetic because of this, and the hauntings in the previous films become jaded acts of revenge. While not as frightening as the senselessness portrayed in the original, it is much better than the second film’s status as a celebrated kidnapper. Scares are recycled, but they all have the air of the demon discovering his tactics for the first time.

The camerawork also evolves in Paranormal Activity 3. Gone are the stationary security cameras that record every moment, and in their place is a camera placed on an oscillating fan that Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) takes apart. Directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost play wonderful games with this camera and add a new creative aspect to the series’ signature evasion of expensive visuals. More is revealed, but just enough remains off camera that the hauntings are still both frightening and cheap.

Looked at as a series, the story continues to reveal itself in Paranormal Activity 3, but it is not complete. If the series goes into fourth and fifth films, they will not be the hopeless profiteering of other horror series. As long as Oren Peli remains involved, a legitimate story is there to be told with new uses of handheld cameras and low budgets.

This becomes Paranormal Activity 3’s primary downfall. The first movie works beautifully as a stand-alone story. The second and third, however, are reliant on an audience’s knowledge of the previous movies. Four and a half hours need to be sunk into a couch or theater seat for full understanding.

The series will never achieve the highs of fear that the first one sparked, but Paranormal Activity 3 is made with good storytelling techniques and an ever-growing repertoire of camera tricks. For this, it deserves the attention of horror fans.

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