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Darren Lynn Bousman
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
Most of the scenes in the trailers are not in the actual movie which angered many fans of the series. See more »
While Dennis is editing one of the video tapes, there's one on a table labeled "89" even though the film takes place in 1988. See more »
[documenting behind the camera]
You'll be spending a lot of time in here. This is gonna be your room. There's some kind of animal being de-liced or something. Compression chamber, that's your crib. It's hermetically sealed. And this is your paint color. What color is that, hon?
Jamaica bay blue.
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PA3 is a prequel to the previous two films in which we find out the origins of the paranormal entity that haunted Katie and Kristie when they were adults. It is safe to say that there will be many moments in the film that will make you jump out of your seats and make your jaw drop in pure terror.
This is the third film in the successful PA franchise that has since replaced SAW as the annual Halloween event. The formula has been established, and perhaps you already know if you'll watch this film or not. However, let me say this: the trailer is misleading. If you know me, I'm very much against movie trailers that spoil almost everything, so I loved how the marketing team approached this film. About 90% of the scenes in the trailer don't appear in the film, so the scares are actually much more satisfying, effective, and shocking this way, and thank goodness for that because I felt that the trailer was way too cartoonish and cheesy.
Suffice to say that this film is successful in almost every way. Because this is the third film in the series, you may think you know what's going to happen. However, the film pretty much plays against your expectations on almost everything. For example, minimalism and subtlety is pretty much thrown out the window. If you were tired of the doors opening and shutting and the lighting flickering on and off in the first two films, PA3 will show you things you would never have expected would happen in a PA film. I'm not going to lie, there are some pretty elaborate and creative scares here, and most of these scares come from the genius addition of the oscillating fan camera, in which the camera rotates left to right. This not only makes for great use of effective jump scares, but also for the building of suspense and dread as we see things the characters don't.
In terms of jump scares, there are many that appear. While many people might complain about this, the film really succeeds in building up the tension that we know that something startling is going to happen, and that's what makes it so fun and unnerving to watch. This may be counterproductive because what made the first film so scary and unique (to me) is the lack of jump scares and the lack of anything elaborate in general. In PA, the simplicity is what makes it so great, relying on the viewer's imagination to create the fear so showing all these scares in PA3 pretty much goes against everything established in PA. However, I'm not going to hold this against the film because the scares are orchestrated so well with the timing and editing that it doesn't matter at that point.
I also want to point out that the scares come earlier than expected. It seems as if the directors know what the audience wants, so they're giving it to them. Not only is the quantity of scares much higher than the previous two films, but the quality of them are pretty great too. There is surprisingly a lot of humor added in the film as well. The film seems self aware of itself and has some fun with it. The character development is much better here than that of the second film. The parents are good as they are, but I have to say that the two girls were pretty great. This film proves that just because there are kids in a film doesn't mean they have to be bad and annoying.
The only flaw I can find about the film is the climax because it was eerily similar to another horror film that was released a couple of years ago. However, I will say that PA3's climax was very terrifying to watch. Overall, if you didn't like the first two films, you'll like this one the most. If you're a fan of the series, you'll obviously like this one. And if you want to watch things that go bump in the night, PA3 is one of the best out there.
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