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Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)  
85 min  -  Horror   -  21 October 2011 (USA)

In 1988, young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity who resides in their home.

Directors: Henry JoostAriel Schulman
Writers: Christopher B. LandonOren Peli
Stars: Chloe CsengeryJessica Tyler Brown and Christopher Nicholas Smith

We all know it’s fake. We know the found-footage isn’t real and the movie is just a movie, but it still gets us every time. The Paranormal Activity series has been highly praised and very very profitable. Low-budget production costs create films that make three times the initial cost to make the movie in their opening weekends. PA3 takes the cake.

The series is a bit of a mess to follow; the films start with PA3 and PA2 and PA1 happen almost at the same time. What you saw in Paranormal Activity was better explained in its sequel and what you saw in PA2 is fully explained in PA3. Somewhat confusing but think of a story going backwards. The ending in most movies is the most important part…but for Paranormal Activity it’s all about the beginning.

PA3 follows the young Katie and Kristi in 1988. “Toby” is summoned by an ancient coven of witches to give them power and wealth in exchange for the soul of the first born male in their family. This male was Hunter in Paranormal Activity 2. In PA3 “Toby” terrorized Katie and Kristi’s family, in PA2 “Toby” haunts Kristi’s family, and in PA1 “Toby” is the hoofed monster we see scaring the willies out of Katie and Micah.

In terms of acting and screen presence it’s gotta go to Jessica Tyler Brown as the young Kristi. Her emotions and conversations with “Toby” will make your hair stand straight up. Everyone else is nearly the same and the flashbacks of previous movies just make the setting and scenery all the more comfortable…in a very uncomfortable way. Comic-relief is short lived and the ending is a great way to close this series. I can safely say I see no other way for a fourth movie to be made…but Hollywood can do anything.

The film is entertaining and has a better overall effect on you than the previous two. The scare tactics are more genuine and you are able to see and witness much much more. “Toby” is a great secondary character and the fact that you never see him, never hear him, he’s just an omnipotent entity that wants to scare you, and does. The film doesn’t lose its momentum and ends at a highpoint. Camera work is, as usual, fidgety, fast, and all over the place but it works for the film’s screenplay. P.S.-the pan-camera is horrible and a fantastic idea.

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Do not let the trailer fool you! The movie differs significantly from the full length trailer and many of the tv spots. Scenes that actually make it into the movie include Randy saying you have to record this, Julie hanging at the top of the stairs, scenes from the initial birthday party, and some scenes of Kristi talking to the demon off-screen. Scenes that were cut include the girls playing the Bloody Mary, the girls huddling in the kitchen, the girls knocking on the closet door, the mother being flung onto the bed, the house on fire, any scene with the priest, the scribbles all over the storage space walls, Kristi throwing water on the demon and it flinging furniture around in front of the mother, Kristi walking along the balcony railing, jumping off, then running back up the stairs.

There’s no way I’ll ruin the film for you but you have to watch Paranormal Activity 3 and as much as I dislike it try and see it with a full theatre. Yes this is a full on theatre experience film and the best scares come from all the other people’s reactions. I recommend this film for fans of jump-scares and overall creepiness. 5/5