Paranormal Activity 3

February 24, 2012 by staff 

Paranormal Activity 3, Release Date: 27 February 2012
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schuman
Cast: Lauren Bittner, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Dustin Ingram

Making home the scariest place on the planet has been the unique selling point of the Paranormal Activity series for the past three years. Though memory of the first film’s innovative slice of pure, undiluted tension has been soured by the effect of turning it into an annual franchise, this third entry defies Hollywood’s conventional money-making formula by injecting a fresh shot of creativity into the series, courtesy of Catfish duo Joost and Schuman. In other words: it’s arse-clenchingly scary.

It’s also a prequel, jumping back to the ’80s to show events in the childhood of Kati and Kristi, the sisters at the centre of the two previous instalments. This has a significant impact on the flimsy over-arching story connecting all three movies, but no effect whatsoever on the scares (unless you count a few questionable fashion choices). The story’s hokum. It’s these scares that impress the most.

A harmless image from childhood, such as the ol’ bed-sheet ghost, suddenly becomes petrifying as the figure beneath impossibly evaporates into thin air. The “entity” is much more aggressive this time round, but the film loses none of its creeping terror. The familiar static camerawork returns for the scenes set in the girls’ bedroom, where some of the film’s most effective jumps occur, but the so-good-we-can’t-believe-no-one’s-done-it-before fancam (a camera attached to a slowly panning fan) ratchets the tension up so high you’ll be fast-forwarding the DVD to get it over with.

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