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Review

‘Paranormal’ series fizzles out

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October 28, 2011

Finally, a Halloween has passed without me seeing a trailer for another “Saw” film, and boy was I glad for that. Now we have the “Paranormal” franchise that has run the show the past three years around this time. The original “Paranormal Activity” was a little gem that made my top 10 best films of the year list in 2009. Then in 2010 we got the prequel to that in “Paranormal Activity 2” which was pretty much the same film with the shock value of a dog and a young child. Now we go even deeper into the past to hopefully get all the answers of why exactly all this is happening in the hopefully final installment in “Paranormal Activity 3.”

We begin by watching a home video of the two sisters, Katie and Kristi, in 1988 as they first encounter the entity that intrudes on their life. In the first two films we hear them mention their parents and how they will not talk about what happened. In “Paranormal Activity 3” we get to figure out why that is. Maybe the reason could be is that no one would believe them because it is so ridiculous! Or wait maybe they will because the tapes have not been destroyed, but I digress. Their mother’s boyfriend seems to be thinking there is something going wrong in the house so he positions cameras up to try and catch the paranormal action.

We get the same format as the previous two where we follow the cameras at night and see what happens. Most of the things the spirit does are even the same type of things we have already seen. In the first half of the movie we get one thing that all horror movies do that I did not think the paranormal franchise would stoop to, cheap scares. Things jumping out of the shadows and into camera frame just to get a rise out of the audience. What makes the films worth watching is the heightened sense of fear, not quick jumps.

“Paranormal Activity 3” picks up towards the end when the mother finally believes her boyfriend about what has been going on during the best scene that involves everything in the kitchen disappearing and reappearing suddenly. The scares now begin to get intense following the boyfriend with his handheld camera, but the last couple minutes get a little too extreme and hard to believe.

Where this movie works is that you learn that the spirit named “Toby” is mentor to one of the girls and terrorizes those who try to harm her. There are just too many holes in this film to believe nobody knew what happened to these people. What about the babysitter, the best friend, and the tapes that are still floating around out there? Even with that said, I got sucked into the third act which was good enough to make me not hate this film, it was better than the second but doesn’t hold a candle to the first.

Dustyn Dubuque is a history major and geography minor that has a love and passion for film. He watches over 100 films each year and loves Academy Awards season.