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Three documentary makers, are heading home from Burning Man in their RV and decide to pull off into the desert to camp for the night. Things get creepy. With their 5 RV cams running 24/7, ... See full summary »
Ethan A. Brosowsky,
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. According to Inside Pulse, the production team behind this had enough leftover footage to assemble two completely different versions of the same movie; fifty-percent of the footage was what they used to create the TV spots and theatrical trailer. See more »
The Barbie doll that can be spotted on the lower part of the screen during the rotating camera sequences throughout the movie is an early 2000s model, making it impossible for it to have stood in a 1988 home as depicted in the movie. 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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During the end credits, sound effects from the film can be heard. See more »
Includes an unrated director's cut and "lost tapes" (Dennis' pranking Julie and a commercial of his video company.) 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!"
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