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HUB Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 3

I went into this week’s HUB movie fully expecting it to be as disappointing as its predecessors: a low budget films with a few effects thrown in for shock value, but not really living up to the title of being a horror movie. But Paranormal Activity 3 actually made me jump out of my seat.

Like most people I got sucked up into the hype of the first Paranormal Activity, and saw the movie in theaters. Big mistake. I heard it was scary and suspenseful, but all I got was one jump at the end and I was out ten bucks. And I didn’t even bother seeing the second movie. But the producers decided to get a new director and screenwriter, and Paranormal Activity 3 was created with the goal of surpassing the first two.

The movie starts out with Katie and Kristi, the main characters of Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, going through old videotapes after Kristi’s house has been broken into. (If you haven’t seen the previous installments, don’t worry. You don’t really need any of their background information to enjoy the movie.) The videotapes have film of Katie and Kristi way back from 1988 when they were both kids. Their mom’s boyfriend, Dennis, had filmed home videos of the happy family, at least until Kristi started to have an imaginary friend, Toby. Let’s just say that some spooky stuff happens when Toby is around. So Dennis sets up cameras all around the house capturing the eerie events that happen around the house late at night.

The most ingenious of Dennis’s cameras is set up in the den of the house on top of an old fan. The camera moves just slowly enough from the kitchen to the dining room so that the anticipation itself is frightening. Sometimes the timing is perfect, but sometimes you’re completely aware that you are looking for that element in the background that is supposed to freak you out.

Paranormal Activity 3 completely relies on those jumps and background elements to scare its audience, but it’s definitely worth it when it does. And like the other PA movies it leaves its freakiest and scariest moments for the end of the movie. But then again, it’s the ending of this movie that completely leaves you unsatisfied. I was left with my jaw open, but feeling like there was absolutely no closure to the situation.

Maybe that’s why I would never consider Paranormal Activity a horror movie.

Though these series of movies have those jumps and frights that horror movies have, they’re not actually all that scary. It’s good for a laugh right after you get scared, but when you leave the theater you’re not afraid of walking outside in the dark. This movie was the most successful out of all of them of scaring me, but it’s a movie I needed to see with a group of people to get that reaction.

It’s truly the experience of seeing this movie with an audience that makes it enjoyable. People gasping or yelling (I even heard a scream) is what makes you smile while you watch it. I found myself yelling “oh shit, oh shit” along with my moviegoers when I saw a door close or saw a figure in the hallway. And it was priceless when some girl shouted, “Where did it go?” when the screen when black for a split second.

Unfortunately this movie had one of those stupid, scary movie, stereotype characters in it. You know, the one that wants to stay even when something is obviously wrong? Maybe leaving won’t do any good, woman, but you might as well try!

Overall I jumped, I laughed, I yelled–all the things I want to do at a scary movie, and most of all it entertained me on a boring Thursday night. I’d say get a group of friends together and go see Paranormal Activity 3. At least for a cheap scare.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the symbol in the movie that looks like the Deathly Hallows without the Elder Wand, I got a kick out of that.

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