Monday, 31 October 2011

'Paranormal Activity 3' Review

'Paranormal Activity 3' (dir/s: Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman, 2011) Cert: 15

The 'Paranormal Activity' franchise has made millions from 'terrifying' audiences with banging cupboards, possessed women staring at a bedside and YouTube-style jump-scares. In fact, by this third instalment; directed by the supremely talented and utterly misused Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman - the pair behind the sublime 'Catfish' (2010), the wheels have fallen off so dramatically that it is basically an 84 minute version of this 15 second German energy drink commercial...

 This film presents audiences with how the 'activity' began surrounding the two central females, Kristi and Katie. Here the pair are young girls and one of them seems to have an aggressive imaginary friend called 'Toby' who enjoys nothing more than reeking havoc upon the family home and consequently causing Wedding video maker Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) to place video cameras all over their home to see what goes bump in the night. Sound familiar? 

 'Parasnormal Inactivity the Third' offers viewers nothing new, nothing unforeseen or remotely chilling - sure it has some nice touches including some falling dust that sort of looks like a figure and a spooky sheet but all these really do is just shout "LOOK! WE HAVE MONEY NOW! HOW COOL WAS THAT?! DID YOU SEE?! WELL, DID YA!?" - The novelty wears off incredible quickly and soon the film shows it's true colours. The first movie was made on a shoe-string budget, lacked many effects and opted for camera trickery and in doing so felt far more authentic and eerie than this mega-money CGI-laden sucker-punch.

Still from 'Paranormal Activity 3' (dir/s: Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman, 2011)

 Although the world, his wife and his dog do not want to believe it, there is simply nothing more the 'Paranormal Activity' franchise can do - it has lost it's bearings and run out of steam. If the only thing you can mention when leaving a film was a scene with a moving bed, you know things are getting sour. Yes, this film is moderately better than the second and it isn't totally boring but that is no great achievement and it worries me that a fourth film is around the corner, because this is quite simply our fault - all the while audiences are happy to buy into this franchise, Paramount will review and grant another picture. It's a vicious and sadly predictable cycle.

 The film also has the gift of an obscenely false trailer - this picture contains no burning house, not many sequences of bodies being dragged by the ghost and it's 'Bloody Mary' scene is entirely different but to an extent, this is a good thing because the bathroom encounter is probably the picture's strongest moment.

 It's also sad to see Joost and Schulman sell out like this too - of course they were right to take the job and they will make millions because of it, but these two gifted documentarians have lost a lot of what made them special and that's a true blow to the genre.

 'Paranormal Activity 3' also gives audiences the dumbest and most ridiculous ending too - by the third act, everyone involved in the movie knows just how bad it is so the only thing to do is....(I won't actually reveal what happens). This is merely a barrier to shield viewers from the movie's inner mediocrity; the team know people will talk about the ending and thus forget about the god-awful 75 minutes they have endured to get to this point, and it is a real shame that so many have proven them right and fallen right into this corporate bear-trap.

 This isn't the worst movie of the year but I've simply had enough now - if the inevitable fourth picture happens, you'll have to drag me kicking and screaming to see it

Please, for the love of God, make it stop.

By Chris Haydon

1 comment:

  1. Definitely better than the second one and even though it’s a little bit of the same thing around again, it still is totally freaky and has so many chilling moments that will stay in your mind forever. Good review.