I Dislike Paranormal Horror Films…So Let’s Watch The Paranormal Activity Franchise: Part 3
Every Halloween, I always make sure to watch specific horror films: ‘Saw’, ‘Trick ‘r’ Treat’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘Tusk’ are all watched every year to the point where I probably know the script by heart. However, I wanted to do something different this year, and step out of my comfort zone a bit.
One of the horror subgenres that I dislike the most are Possession films. Films like ‘Devil’s Due’, ‘Amityville Horror’ and ‘The Last Exorcism’ never seem to hold my interest, and even a classic like ‘The Exorcist’ took me a few days to finish because I kept losing interest. So, I want to give myself a challenge: at the end of each week this month, starting today, I will be watching all of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ films, with the last four acting as a double upload on the last two weeks of October.
‘Paranormal Activity 3’ was released in 2011 and takes place in 1988. After a supposed earthquake disrupts the family of Katie and Kristi Featherston, Dennis, their guardian, puts up multiple cameras around the house. He also speculates that the girls’ imaginary friend, Toby, is actually real.
This is yet another prequel revolving around sisters Katie and Kristi Featherston, which is extremely disappointing to see, considering the last entry’s ending set up an interesting plot point. This film’s only goal is to tell its audience why the demon has clung to the Featherston family. And, while this may sound interesting on the surface, Part 2 already gave viewers a theory on why they probably should’ve called an exorcist ages ago.
Which brings this article onto its second point: there is hardly any subtly in this film. While some foreshadowing is given via dialogue, e.g.: the grandma, Lois, wanting her daughter to have another child, in the hopes that it’ll be a boy, most of the information given are things that would’ve worked better had it been left for speculation and theorizing. The ending which reveals that that Lois had, in fact, made a deal with a demon (like Ali suggested in the previous film) was interesting and answered some questions that fans may have had. However, I would’ve preferred if these questions had not been answered at all. Whether the detail about Lois and her coven of witches comes up in a later film, we will have to wait to find out. But, for now, this was a detail that I did not need to know.
This film also didn’t make sense motivation-wise and production-wise. While I didn’t enjoy ‘Paranormal Activity 2’, the motivation behind the security cameras made complete sense; the family were trying to catch, what they thought, would be a burglar and happened to film something supernatural instead. This film, however, had an extremely weak motivation: after a small earthquake hits their town, Dennis notices something in the tape that he’d been using to test out his new camera. Compared to the previous films, this was a somewhat lazy explanation as to why the cameras had been set up around the house.
The editing towards the end made no sense either. The film is edited because Dennis edits the footage that he films as he goes along. However, he’s killed at the end, which begs the question: who is editing the third act to the point where there are random jump cuts when there shouldn’t be? This sound like a nitpick, however, if a found footage film wants to fool its audience in believing it is found footage, then it needs to be filmed and edited as if someone found it and is piecing it together. One positive that can be taken from the cinematography is a scene in which Dennis attaches his camera to a broken electric fan stand. This means that one of the cameras is constantly moving left to right and back. This camera is where the tension really shines; the audience may not want to look around that corner, but they’re going to whether they like it or not!
Unfortunately, it can’t be denied that ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ is a boring and unnecessary prequel. Not only was the plot not needed, as part 2 gave its audience all the information it needed, but it’s a confusing film, production-wise. A pattern had also started to form: all three films have gotten interesting in its last 15-20 minutes. While the first film had interesting story and character development, it’s undeniable that the first film falls under this comment too. However, ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ does not need to be part of the franchise, and I would’ve happily avoided it.
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