October 24, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

"In 1988, young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity who resides in their home."

Obviously, since I can't even bring myself to review the first "Paranormal Activity" (2007) and my "review" of "Paranormal Activity 2" (2010) is more a serious of spoilers than anything else, you can already guess that if I had anything better to write about, I wouldn't be reviewing this one either.

As much as I like paranormal horror films more than any other, none of these cheap looking "found footage" ripoffs of "The Amityville Horror" have done anything for me. I don't find them scary and, for the most part, I don't even think of them as being real films.

Even though I didn't think it could be possible, "Paranormal Activity 3" is by far the weakest in the series. It's so bad that it actually makes the second one look good especially after revisiting it on Netflix, but don't take that as an endorsement. They are all crap.

One of the things which really bugs me about the "Paranormal Activity" series is that I don't really know anything about anyone involved in them. The directors and writers seem to keep appearing out of nowhere with no obvious past achievements and, based on the quality of the films themselves, they don't deserve to go any further either.

Another thing is how contrived everything is to include parts of the story which there is no good reason for anybody to be filming. In "Paranormal Activity 2", the switch to a handheld camera with nightvision was forced in due to the power going off. In "Paranormal Activity 3", there isn't even that much respect given to the audience.

But enough of the general bitching. "Paranormal Activity 3" is pretty much identical to the last one except that it is supposed to be set in 1988 and be filmed on VHS tapes which it clearly isn't. If the premise had been that the found footage had been filmed on Betamax then there may have been less criticism of the way the film looks since Beta was a higher quality than VHS, but even then, this is high-definition digital camerawork with no attempt to disguise it.

Another problem which everybody is moaning about is that two-thirds of the scenes in the trailer aren't even in the film itself. It doesn't matter to me since I barely look at the trailers anyway but it's a simple "bait and switch" gimmick which eventually is going to get somebody into a lot of trouble if the trend continues. The same thing happened with "Paranormal Activity 2" and "Piranha 3D" (2010) but to a much lesser extent. False advertising is still false advertising no matter how trivial it may be.

The thing which really kills "Paranormal Activity 3" though is that it's boring as shit. Katie Featherston only appears briefly so fans of her big boobies will be disappointed, and since this is another prequel—which I admit is a novel approach to doing things—it's all about childhood versions of Katie and Kristi. The adults in the film have more screen time than the kids, but even so, you have to have exceptionally good child actors to pull something like that off, and the two girls in this just aren't.

The effects are really lacklustre this time. There's a bedsheet ghost which is a bit stupid, some excessively loud bangs which hurt my delicate little ears, and what I can only describe as a "Falcon Blast" (after seeing it in a YouTube parody of whichever computer game it comes from) which was used near the end of "Paranormal Activity 2" as well (depending on which version you saw).

The box office results are already showing that "Paranormal Activity 3" has made so much money ($54,000,000 from the opening weekend) that there will undoubtedly be another one next year. Impressive as that may be to some people, I think they should quit while they are ahead as, presumably, "Paranormal Activity 4" will have to be shot on high-definition Super 8 cine film if they are going to keep doing prequels.

I highly recommend that you do not waste your money going to see this film and save it for "The Awakening" (2011) should it ever get a theatrical release.

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