04 November 2011

Paranormal Activity 3

Directed by: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Written by: Christopher B. Landon
Full credits at IMDb

Minimalism was the key to Paranormal Activity's success, so the sequels' bigger effects, greater number of cameras, and more convoluted narratives have only been detrimental. Paranormal Activity 3 continues to drag the series down; chronologically, it moves it farther back: this threequel, directed by the vain kids behind Catfish, is yet another prequel, this one set in 1988 and focused on the characters' childhood relationships with the demon who would continue to haunt and torment them into adulthood. This is one of the franchise's largest missteps: its increasing focus on backstory.

The other is its aesthetic choices. In this film, for starters, moving the setting so far back becomes problematic. It's neat, I guess, that the movie is shot on, or at least made to look like, videotape. (It'll make an interesting companion piece to Trash Humpers.) But it also poses unaddressed practical problems: like, why would someone keep the camera running as he walks slowly up a staircase if he has to pay for VHS cassettes?

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