Paranormal activity, a well-known and popular supernatural franchise, has finally produced what could know name it a trilogy. Paranormal activity 3, the third chilling (whether in a good or bad way, I’ll leave that to you) film created by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, in an attempt to provide a dramatic conclusion. Following on from the previous films, Paranormal activity 3 shows the story of Dennis, Julie, Katie and Kristi as they face a demon’s ominous presence; it’s intent growing more malicious every passing day. Though the film is behind it’s predecessors in a unique inverted chronological order, does the plot manage to entice the viewers? Are the actors able to convey their characters’ fears successfully? And, most importantly, does this film bestow a satisfactory feeling of terror; powerful enough to contribute to the horror genre in general?
The overall plot of the film, though explanatory and often helps fill in the gaps presented in the previous movies, is overused and mediocre at best. An invisible demon lurking about in the middle of the night and wreaking havoc? It’s been done. Twice. And as such, the previous films overlap it’s third sibling simply through holding more originality in their plots. The original film being the first to depict the horrors in things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, whilst the second providing a (relatively) sufficient explanation for the first movie. Being the third film, the only way in which it could possibly surpass it’s elder brothers would be to either; provide the viewers with a new horror of which makes their blood curl faster, or to reveal some interesting new facts about the grandmother or the creeper that shows enjoyment in opening doors and smashing light bulbs. Whilst the film merely touches upon both topics, it strays amongst the predictability set out by the Paranormal activity franchise. Video cameras set up, creature sneaks about, everyone scared, and somebody dead. Perhaps viewing audiences of this genre are attracted to familiarity, but the writers could have been daring enough to create a script with more unconventionality. There may have, indeed, been a few more screams.
Acting, within the film, was generally pleasing; the actors performed their roles to a solid standard. Particularly, the roles of Christopher Nicholas Smith (Dennis) and Dustin Ingram (Randy) presented the fear in their characters extremely well; adding to the realism that Paranormal activity 3 plays on. Especially talented, however, was the young actress Chloe Csengery (young Katie) who managed, even at such an age, to show both her frightened and possessed state with emotive results from the audience. On the other hand, there were times in the film where certain characters were merely acting as themselves, rather than actually being themselves; the biggest culprit being Lauren Bittner (Julie). Overall, the acting within the film was excellent, emotively expressing the feelings of their characters whilst making the film seem more fact and less fiction.
One of the main features of the horror film genre is the ability to scare the audience out of their seats and giving them nightmares for the next few evenings. Needless to say, Paranormal activity 3 was designed to scare. Although the predictability factor was off the scale, there were a few new scenes of trepidation within the film; particularly during the concluding climax where many unusual factors added to the recurring theme of dread. Anyhow, there was a slight feeling of hilarity mixed in with the happenings within the house; this including the naming of the creature, humanizing it to the much less frightful name of “Toby”. Also, was the almost comical violence used towards poor Katie. As much as there was a sense of fright in the film, there was also a tinge of humour that would add to the audience’s amusement rather than fear.
All in all, the film is worth watching if you have seen the previous two movies. It fills in a slight explanation of the time during which Katie and Kristi were children, as well as adding some new information about the dread “Toby”. However, in comparison to the previous two films, the plot does not run as smoothly and there is a predictability in the haunting of the family. It may even be seen, by some horror fanatics, as less of a fright fest and more of a cheap way for the franchise to run on. So is Paranormal activity 3 the perfect and petrifying end to the franchise?
It’s all up to your own imaginations to decide.
By Hannah Myers