EW Movie Review: "Paranormal Activity 3"
"Paranormal Activity 3" is a thrilling new entry to the successful lo-fi horror franchise. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly magazine filed the following review.
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Last weekend, “Paranormal Activity 3” took in $52 million at the box office, a startling achievement for a hand-held-camera ghost story with no stars and a budget of $5 million.
The film’s success is no accident. By now, we’ve all seen so many horror films that even the famously extreme ones, like “Saw” and “Hostel,” aren’t really that scary. The “Paranormal Activity” films, on the other hand, are the first movies in years that have audiences screaming in unison. That’s because they go right to our primal fears of things that go bump in the night, of that shivery haunted-house moment when evil finally shows its face.
“Paranormal Activity 3” is a prequel set in 1988, though it doesn't exactly look like an '80s period piece. The high-ceilinged tract home in which it takes place looks a lot like the one in the more contemporary “Paranormal Activity 2,” with tastefully bland furniture that might have come out of the Raymour and Flanigan suburban-gothic collection.
This time, the family consists of a wedding videographer, his big-haired wife, and her two preteen daughters from a previous marriage. Kristi is an enigmatic child who can communicate with the spirit world, and it’s one of the film’s best jokes that the ghost on hand is her invisible friend.
“Paranormal Activity 3” revives the basic tricks from the first two films and adds a number of new ones. The directors, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, are great at timing. They know just how to thread a handheld camera up stairs, down a hallway, and into the scattered bric-a-brac of a middle class kid’s bedroom so that we’re left in a state of shivery anticipation.
“Paranormal Activity 3” lacks the originality that made the first “Paranormal Activity” so startling, but the bottom line, for me, is that I don’t scare easily, and I watched this movie in a state of high anxiety.