Third Time Isn’t the Charm in “Paranormal Activity 3”

“Paranormal Activity 3” is the funniest movie you will see all year. From start to finish it is loaded with gut busting laughs that you will be eager to tell you friends about. The problem? It’s not a comedy…at all. In fact it is deadly seriously from beginning to end which only added to the fun. Once in a full moon horror audiences get to experience this sort of bad filmmaking. A film that plummets below mediocre into so-bad-it’s-good territory. This is just that film.

“Paranormal Activity 3” begins in 2005, Katie delivers a box of old videotapes to her pregnant sister, Kristi, and Kristi’s husband, Daniel. A year later, Kristi and Daniel’s house is seemingly burgled and the tapes are missing. Flashback to 1988, a young Katie and Kristi live with their mother, Julie, and her boyfriend, Dennis; Kristi begins interacting with an invisible friend named Toby. Dennis notices that since Kristi’s friend appeared, strange things have been happening in the house. Dennis and Julie try to make a sex tape, but are interrupted by an earthquake. While they look for the girls, the camera shows dust fall from the ceiling and land onto an invisible figure in the room. The figure then moves and the dust falls to the floor. While reviewing the footage later, Dennis notices the strange incident. He invites his friend Randy over to view the footage, who suggests that Dennis place cameras throughout the house to capture any other incidents.

That night in the girls’ bedroom, Kristi wakes up and begins talking to someone off-camera before going back to bed. When Dennis questions her about this the following day, Kristi tells him that it is Toby. After more disturbed nights and strange occurrences, Dennis discovers a strange symbol in the girls’ closet. He finds the same symbol on a picture of women in a book about demonology. Dennis explains to Julie that the symbol belonged to a witches’ coven that brainwashed girls of child-bearing age into having sons and then forgetting about it, but Julie dismisses his claim. Because, of course, he HAS to be making this all up. Right?

Hmmm…where to start with the problems of this film:

* Sometimes there is a time stamp on the camera, sometimes there isn’t.
* Who is editing the jump cuts when there is no “flash forward” in time?
* Who was changing the tapes in the middle of the night?
* Why is the camera looking over at the parents bed when it is staring straight at the mirror?
* Why didn’t the babysitter say what had happened to her to the parents?
* Why didn’t the Randy show them his cut after he was attacked by “Toby”?
* Why was Toby never mentioned in the first two installments?
* Why didn’t Dennis show Julie the tapes before going into the stupid speech about the witches?
* Was the final scene (witches in black robes?) really meant to be taken seriously?
* Didn’t the video quality appear to be awfully good (and in HD even!!) for something that had been 25 years old and sitting in storage?
* Also did the witches edit the tapes together themselves?

The list goes on and on and on. This is quite the movie experience that really must be seen to be believed. Go in with a few beers and zero thoughts in your head and maybe you’ll have a good time. Who knows? Just don’t spend money on it…

One last thing: Watch the movie and then watch the trailer below. No less than 2/3 of this trailer’s footage is NOT even in the film. This is blatant false advertising (especially considering the trailer was released just three weeks before the film) and is deplorable.