The third installment in the series is smart, but not scary
When the novelty of cameras being placed in all parts of a house wears off, the number of scares should go up. If the number of scares is to going be kept low, their intensity should be high. We know the scares are coming – what’s going to spook us is how and when they come.
Paranormal Activity 3 takes the story to 1988, when Katie and Kristi were little girls in frocks. Their pregnant mum has a wedding-cameraman boyfriend who’s obsessed with walking around with a camera. Of course. And he’s hell-bent on recording the strange goings-on at the house – the weird sounds: footsteps when no one should be around, thumping sounds etc. The girls start behaving rather oddly too – Kristi specifically. Kristi has an “imaginary friend” called Toby, with whom she shares secrets.
Toby, I believe, is the true hero of the Paranormal Activity franchise. He and the sisters are the only ones who stay alive, and they’ll probably be the reason you’ll get Paranormal Activity 4.
I consider the camera-loving boyfriend and the skeptical woman both very daft; I’d drop the camera and run the fuck out of the house screaming like a mad bitch – screaming so loudly that Toby would cover his ears and run the fuck out too.
Toby does a good job of frightening the babysitter (he tugs at her cleavage) and camera-boy’s assistant (gives him a scratch); what’s impressive about Paranormal Activity as a series is that it draws very little blood to spook. No scary faces or gore – just a continual buildup of tension that lead to tiny explosions and one final bang.
The ghost’s behaviour does seem silly at times, but most of us wouldn’t think of kids being dragged around as scary. And we know the girls are going to remain unharmed – they’re supposed to take the story forward (duh!). The problem here isn’t that the scares are few; it’s that the deaths are few. Only two.
The gentleman I watched Paranormal Activity 3 with said it was scarier than Paranormal Activity 2 (I haven’t seen it), so it would be safe to gather that Paranormal Activity 1 is the scariest of the three. There is nothing as exciting as amateur and raw attempts – they are often the most visceral; and as with most things, the first strike is the deadliest.