OCTOBER 24th 2011
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
Review by Barretticus
Creepy. Really Creepy.
I think there is something about the ghost story combined with the found-footage thing that strikes a chord with me. I love slasher moviesand will them day in and day out, but, for me, they aren't scary, per se. During PA3, however, I noticed my body grew increasingly tense. By the end there was an expression on my face that I can't really explain; maybe a combination of constrained fright, uncomfortable tensity and that problem when you just cant look away. My arms were crossed and held tight, shoulders pushed up to my ears and feet tucked under my chair. I haven't had that feeling since I watched the original Ju-On in Japan with no english subtitles to tell me what the hell was going on.
I was immediately pulled in. The first person view of the home video camera puts the viewer right in the middle of it. Complete immersion, like you are another member of the family who can only watch. The familiarity of the family pulls you in even more without needing character development. Something I loved, was, anytime there was any attempt at character development it was to service the mythology of the story. Conversations, if you picked up on it, let you in on what happened on the other end of the story. Very subtle but also important bits of information to put together at the end which made the movie afterthoughts fun.
The philosophy behind this type of film, is that it is not necessary to get to know the characters. These people are just like anybody you know. You know this guy, he's friendly and cool; you know this woman, she's a divorced mom, you know these girls they are cute and kids being kids.
The movie is chalk full of cheap shock scares. The kind in which someone/something pops out in front of the camera and the sound is pumped up enough to punch you in the chest and make you jump regardless if you were scared or not. I got the feeling, however, the director threw these at the audience as a sort of tongue-in-cheek-make-fun-of-you-for-falling-for-it type of thing instead of using them as genuine to be taken seriously scare tactics that usually fail.
The real scares come from the tension that is built through the use of nothing happening even though you know something will, and what happens is so subtle that it creeps the hell out of you and a couple big moments that start off with creepy subtle events into a cheap scare, and immediately continue with some seriously creepy high tension action. Though fast paced and short, I would say they were relentless.
I was extremely pleased with the results of this movie. The effect it had on myself and the rest of the audience, the lack of CG, and the way it had me putting some pieces together when it was done. I might have felt differently about this movie if I had sat through the two previous films. I don't think that it breaks any new ground in the way it was made (I don't think anymovie can do that anymore) or for its own story, but as long as the "gags" are new to each movie and nothing is recycled, it is very watchable and very scary. I will look forward to watching parts 1 and 2.