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Paranormal Activity 3
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Paranormal Activity 3 (2012)

"The Paranormal Activity franchise continues with this third outing from Paramount Pictures. Oren Peli and Jason Blum return to produce the highly secretive feature, with Catfish's directing duo of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman taking on the helming duties."

Review by
Lisa Giles-Keddie
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Review Date: 26 January 2012 My Rating: out of 5


Disc Details
Disc Type: DVD, Region 2
Release: 27 February 2012
Country: United Kingdom
No. of Discs: 1
Certificate: 15

Special Features
- Scare Montage
- Dennis' Commercial

The cynics will argue that this paranormal franchise that captures supernatural things on camera is getting a little long in the tooth and predictable – but that all depends on what scares you, and it still has a certain authenticity to its cinematic style that wills you into believing what you are witnessing. The latest to take up the Paranormal Activity directing mantel is Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, whose take on Oren Peli’s story involves the same premise, but stirs more initial interest because it’s the ‘prequel’ to demonic events as we know them, and will hopefully give some insight into how it all started.

In film three set in 1988, young sisters Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi Rey (Jessica Tyler Brown) come into contact with an invisible entity that resides in their home, with Kristi Rey first befriending an invisible playmate called ‘Toby’. But as she refuses to be party to his games any long, the supernatural occurrences in the house get more sinister.

The last two films had adults dealing with the haunting. In this film it’s an entire family fight – kids and all, with elements of Poltergeist to it, in Kristi Rey’s link and ability to communicate with the unseen, minus talking to noisy TV screens. It even shows the not-so-innocent results of playing the Bloody Mary game, feeding on a small child’s ultimate fear. In a sense, it’s the children who do battle this time. Apart from that, expect much the same fast-forwarded time sequences and static camera situations positioned around the house to capture what’s going on, with the tense waiting period in between. In fact, what still makes this filming style effective is how we adjust our own vision to play detective and see any changes in the frame, rather than the inevitable big scares it sets you up for.

In Paranormal Activity 3, however, our camera angle takes on a new position – as devised by ‘man of the house’ and wedding videographer Dennis (played by Christopher Nicholas Smith) – on the remnants of a household electric fan. This allows Joost and Schulman to introduce a ‘split-screen’ effect between the living/dining area and the kitchen, cultivating the added anxiety of not knowing what will appear in front of the lens when the camera/fan contraption moves from left-to-right, or one room scene to the next. It’s highly effective in a “now you see it, now you don’t” scenario, and adds the film-makers’ own visual touch.

As for finding the answers we’ve all wanted to know since Peli’s first film and grown-up Katie’s evil ‘alter ego’, the Joost and Schulman version goes into Occult territory, like some kind of reality TV, The Wicker Man episode. Sadly, it still leaves frustrating questions unanswered as to the supernatural force’s origins, merely transferring the occurrences to another location.

As for DVD extras, there is nothing else to further explain the domestic haunting, merely a series of idiotic pranks by Dennis/Smith – called Lost Tapes – designed to scare the hell out of mom Julie, played by Lauren Bittner, and a cheesy self-promotional wedding video advertising Dennis’s business. It appears Joost and Schulman have joined the covenant of Paranormal Activity silence, and taken the secret of how the demonic presence first arose to their own graves, possibly to keep the franchise’s mystery alive – plus not kill off any chance of another investigation captured on tape in a fourth film.

Paranormal Activity 3 is out on 27 February on Blu-ray and DVD Triple Play.

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