Who needs continuity when we have Teddy Ruxpin?
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Directed By: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
It must be soo hard to make a movie that you know will make tons of cash it’s opening week at the box office. I mean, lets think back. I don’t think anyone believed the first Paranormal Activity would do what it went on to do. Then you had the trouble of a sequel that was sure money, which wasn’t as good in my opinion, but OK. Now here we have Paranormal Activity 3, a film that just made over 50 million this past weekend, it’s opening weekend, at the box office. While the average Joe that goes to the theaters just to get jump scares seems to love this thing, us smarter horror fans, the ones that pay attention, have noticed more than a few flaws in this one. And there is always the idea they’ll be more Paranormal Activity films, I found the continuity issues based off of the first two films and this one to be a bit too much to overlook.
This film is a prequel to the first two Paranormal Activity films. Taking place in 1988 (with more than one appearance by everyone’s favorite talking bear, Teddy Ruxpin) young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity who resides in their home. Their mother, Julie, just so happens to have a boyfriend who makes his living shooting wedding videos. His name is Dennis, and he proves that the girls in this family have a long and drawn out history of being romantically involved with men who love forms of video. So, Dennis is filming things as creepy things start going down and the rest is pretty much what you expect from a Paranormal Activity film. And yes, I do take issues with the video quality being so well for something that was supposed to come from a home video camera in 1988. My family had one, it wasn’t anywhere near this nice.
We have a number of things to notice and take issue with as we watch the third entry into this new franchise. One of which being the fact that many of the scenes we see in the trailer seems to be missing for whatever reason from the theatrical cut. This leaves me to wonder if they were just cut out, or if they were ever intended to be in the film at all. Were they just shot to make you want to go see it? It confuses me, I won’t lie. We get some creepy stuff here and there, I won’t even try to deny that, but I think some of those scenes would have really helped this one out a whole lot. I mean, we do get a “Bloody Mary” scene, but it’s not with the two girls from the trailer, it’s a little different. Maybe these issues will be addressed when it hits DVD and is out of the theaters.
And while the trailer may make you assume that the plot will flow well with the stuff we were told in the first two, I’m here to tell you that it’s not entirely true. While there is a bit of an “out” to explain the errors with the continuity, I like to think the people just weren’t thinking two sequels ahead when they made the first, so they give us what we get here hoping we won’t notice it doesn’t match and will figure out a way to tie it all together later on. Now of course most people who isn’t really into film as much as I am (and probably not as much as you reading this is either) won’t notice these issues. I’m sure they were counting on that fact. In the first film Katie mentions that there was a shadowy figures at the end of her bed a lot as a kid, I don’t think we get that once. She also let on that whatever it was stuck with her and her sister just cried a lot. It’s actually her sister, Kristi, here that seems to get most the weird stuff, seeing as how she has an “Invisible friend”. And as far as her crying, I don’t think she cries once. There is also a number of other MAJOR plot issues that don’t match up to what we’ve vaguely been told in the first two. Again, they do give themselves a possibility of an “out”, but we won’t know for sure what they are doing until we see another one.
Now I won’t lie and say it doesn’t have a few good jump scares, because it really does. It’s a slower build, but you can’t argue with the fact it’s spooky, this is also aided with the vibe of watching it in a packed dark theater. And it does pickup a great deal around an hour into it. Now the ending kinda borrows off another “lost footage” film that came out last year, I didn’t care for that then and I don’t care for that much now. And once again we have a Paranormal Activity movie that leaves a lot more questions than answers, I suppose we will need to wait til next year and the next movie to figure these questions out. Of course, that was probably the idea all along, but these guys really need to be careful at this point. Not only are we approaching full on slasher franchise territory of continuity errors, but with the fashion of which this one ends, we could be doing some major shark jumping with the next one. And while the magic of thinking the first one was legit is long gone now, we don’t need to stray away too far into the grand idea of straying away from what made PA popular and just letting whatever happen in these things. I think keeping it simple and just evolving that idea and concept will work a whole lot better.
I won’t go as far as to say I “hate” this movie. I don’t even think I dislike it that much (probably hard to tell from the review, sorry), it just really pisses me off due to a lot of continuity reasons. Taking all of that out of the equation, we have a pretty nice little ghost story here that dabbles into some other territory by the end. As silly as the third act kinda is (talking about an odd twist here), it does at least give us a really creepy kill to send the crowd home happy. I can’t really tell you how torn I am on giving this thing a 5.5, but I’ll just take a little pity on this one and give a score just under the last one. And I’m doing so in hopes that part 4 will tie everything together. So Paranormal Activity 4, when you come out PLEASE don’t make me regret this.
The Rating (6/10)