Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman. Starring Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Christopher Nicholas Smith.
Not a big fan of Paranormal Activity 1 and giving number 2 a miss, I didn’t expect more from number 3 than a couple of yawns. The friend I went with held on to my arm tightly through most of the movie and I jumped out of my seat several times. That gives you an indication of how wrong my expectations were.
Taking us back in the past to the 80s, Paranormal Activity 3 tells us the story of mom Julie, her daughters Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) and Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Julie’s boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) all living in a house that isn’t quite family friendly. If you’re familiar with the previous films or a fan of Blair Witch Project then you’ll know about the hand-held camera technique. Dennis of course is an avid videographer and when he hears suspicious sounds in the house and of Kristi’s newfound ‘imaginary’ friend Toby, he decides to set up cameras throughout the house to find out what’s going on.
So a lot of the scenes are footage from the spy cams or a camera Dennis chooses to take around the house with him all the time considering he’s out of work. Boom! There’s something there. Swivel – Dennis rigs a rotating fan with a camera to take shots of both living room and kitchen – now that thing is gone. But wait, now it’s there. The effect of this swivel cam is in fact the film’s biggest asset. It’s eerie and provides an opportunity for the filmmakers to spring a fright in your face, which they do to amazing effect.
Jessica Tyler Brown who plays the younger sister Kristi is perfectly cast. Her strange face and stone cold line delivery to the ghost in the house is spooky making her another scary element in the whole increasingly goose-bump inducing scenario. Think of the film Poltergeist and you’ll get what this film is about: furniture levitating, lights turning on and off, strange apparitions and violent telekinesis.
Of course the second half escalates into deadly violence and the appearance of a strange coven that has cursed the house. But never does the thrill dissipate. You will clench your body, crane your neck as the camera takes a turn round a dark corner and prepare your hand to grab your partner’s as soon as the impending scare hits out at you.