Jesse begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things after the death of his neighbor. As he investigates, it isn't long before Jessie finds he's been marked for ... See full summary »
Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone.
Olivia Taylor Dudley
An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.
After moving with her mother to a small town, a teenager finds that an accident happened in the house at the end of the street. Things get more complicated when she befriends a boy who was the only survivor of the accident.
Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.
In 1988, in California, cinematographer Dennis moves to the house of his girlfriend Julie to raise a family with her daughters Katie and Kristi. Little Kristi has an imaginary friend named Toby while weird things happen in the house. Dennis decides to place cameras in the house to capture images during the night and soon he finds that there is an entity in the house. Dennis's friend Randy Rosen (Dustin Ingram) researches the events and learns that his house might be a coven of witches and the children may be in danger. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Julie gets off the phone with her mother to answer the door, the camera begins panning back to the dining room. Just before Julie gets back into view, the dining room chairs' positions, table shadow and the beige couch's change. This is indication that the "Kitchen Drop" scene was performed later on in the day; then CGI stitched together to pull off the illusion that an impossible feat was completed in seconds. See more »
Reigning king of the "Gotcha!" moment, Paranormal Activity is back and though the premise may have worn thin, (how many compulsive videographers can one extended family have?) its minimalist scare tactics are as effective as ever. Scream for scream, the theater experience is without rival; hushed gasps, nervous tittering, and shrieks of surprise are empirical evidence of the films' effectiveness. Hence the backlash when Paranormal Activity hit home video: these movies cater to a crowd.
A prequel of sorts, Paranormal Activity 3 rewinds the franchise to 1988, illuminating the origins of the Presence that ran amok in parts one and two. Helmed by Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the flick treads familiar territory, but keeps the audience on its toes. One of the major criticisms leveled against Oren Peli's original was its predictable cycle of daytime exposition and midnight scares. Rinse and repeat.
Screenwriter Christopher B. Landon, who also wrote the underwhelming Paranormal Activity 2, does a better job this time of pitching the odd changeup. With an omnipresent atmosphere of unease, no moment feels entirely safe. And it goes without saying that the freaky stuff is much more explicitly freaky. Rest assured the Rey family doesn't own a pool, let alone a cleaning robot.
Probably the single most brilliant technical addition to the Paranormal Activity repertoire is the oscillating camera. Panning ominously between kitchen and living room, the simple mechanic works like a suspense machine. Joost and Schulman certainly get their money's worth out of the gimmick, milking it for some of their whitest white-knuckle moments. Fashioned from a tabletop fan, the device is a perfect metaphor for the franchise itself: cheap, homemade, effective.
But for ingenuity and inventiveness, the original is still tops. For all its merciless suspense, Paranormal Activity 3 falls back on a few too many false alarms ("Gotcha!") and bad payoffs, and offers no real innovations in imagery. From Poltergeist to The Exorcist, it's easy to tell where the directors pulled inspiration, almost copy-and-pasting classic moments into the found footage aesthetic.
Then again, anyone expecting real innovation from the third Paranormal Activity film is barking up the wrong tree. Part of the fun is how loosely defined the abilities of the otherworldly antagonist are. It possesses, communicates, and manipulates. But wait, there's more! Paranormal Activity 3 plays like a grab bag of horror ideas and iconography. Like any grab bag, not everything inside is interesting.
For one, hand-held footage plays a more prominent role than ever, which strains the believability of some key sequences. Then there's hokey filler like the "Bloody Mary" urban legend, which squarely fills the vacancy left by the Ouija board on the Paranormal Activity blueprint. And who could forget Randy (Dustin Ingram) and his transparent, annoying attempts at comic relief?
Paranormal Activity 3 doesn't reinvent the franchise. It's not even the best Paranormal Activity film. It doesn't need to be. Its aim is to refine the series' mechanics and reinvigorate audience interest, and it succeeds. So what's next? Likely what keeps Paramount executives up at night is how to squeeze the supernatural saga for every penny it's worth. Long live the reigning king of "Gotcha!"
48 of 78 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?