Midnight Movies: Paranormal Activity 3


Some movies are so damn important and eager to be seen that, instead of opening at 11am on Friday morning like a normal film, they bust out of the gates at midnight. It’s probable that every movie opens somewhere at midnight, but if you live in the middle of nowhere like I do, that’s definitely not the case. You can’t go see a Michael Moore documentary at midnight where I live, for example. In fact you probably can’t see it for a month. So when a movie theater makes their employees stay up way past midnight, it’s because someone somewhere thinks this movie is a damn event.

This week, that movie was Paranormal Activity 3.

I went into Paranormal Activity 3 thinking only the best. When I first heard that another Paranormal Activity film was in the works, I wasn’t all that interested. But damn, that trailer sure makes it look like a rocking good time, so I decided to give it a shot.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat…most of what you see in the trailer for Paranormal Activity 3 doesn’t actually happen in the movie. Like what? Glad you asked…

scene1That scene where the littler of the two girls explains to her father that the knocking on that door is not a trick…never happens. Not that I recall, anyway.

scene2This scene, where the little girl jumps from the balcony of her bedroom…never happens.

scene3That’s water you see in the air. You won’t see it in the movie though.

scene4 [2]This scene looks kind of like a big deal. I think I would remember it.

scene4Who in the fuck is this guy?

Everything that the trailer would lead you to believe is scary and awesome never happens. I don’t even know who the guy in the suit even is. Unless I experienced intermittent blackouts throughout the movie, I don’t believe he ever appears in Paranormal Activity 3. There’s also a commercial where the two kids are standing in the bathroom playing “Bloody Mary.” Never happens.

The scene above where the little girl is throwing water on what appears to be an apparition? That scene happened, but it didn’t even sort of end the way the trailer leads you to believe, which is a shame, because that shit looked neato in the trailer.

That’s one of the huge problems with Paranormal Activity 3. You go in expecting to be scared shitless by the things you’ve seen in the trailer. When the movie ends at what feels like the 45 minute mark and you haven’t seen any of those things, you kind of feel cheated.

That said, there are still plenty of scares to be had. Astoundingly, the film manages to make the idea of a “ghost” that’s actually just a person wearing a white sheet (or is it?) scary again. That was cool. Also, the scene in the trailer where you see a camera mounted on an oscillating fan is used in the film and it adds a nice spin to the franchise’s normal parade of grainy, black and white, “holy-shit-is-that-girl-just-going-to-stand-there-or-kill-somebody” type of footage. But there’s also some of that.

The commercials for the film also lead one to believe that “the last 15 minutes will mess you up.” Sounds great, but nobody writing a worthwhile movie review uses descriptors like “will mess you up.” In fact, the last 15 minutes won’t “mess you up” unless you unless you had your kids’ college fund riding on a side bet that there would never be another Paranormal Activity movie after this one. But that ending also puts this so far beloved franchise on a direct collision course with a Blair Witch 2 type of sequel at some point in the future. That’s by far the scariest thing about Paranormal Activity 3.