Let me start with this, I love this franchise, I know many people think it’s a one trick pony. I dig the cannon they have made. I like that they use things to scare you that don’t involved gore or CGI. The first film to me is almost a classic. The two leads seem so real. The scares are things everyone thinks about when they are alone at home. The first film followed a couple getting spooked at night and recording it. The second followed an entire family. Here we watch tapes from 1988 when the sisters from the previous films were little girls. The one thing this film does is set up tension and really get you to jump.
I like the second film, it set up the cannon very well, problem was it that because it wanted to set those things up that the scares were limited. Here in the third film the tension is off balance. The paranormal force here gets very aggressive. The scares will get you and one specific scene that I won’t detail gave me serious chills. There are over a half dozen moments where if you’re not cringing you’ve got some stones.
What really works for the film is that everything does look like it was from the 80’s. No more digital camera and computer work. We get VHS tape recorders and library books. The two young girls are really good. They just seem very real. Everything was well put together and just felt like the time period. The adults are really good. Chris Smith plays Dennis the little girls step father, who is a wedding videographer, it’s why he has all the camera’s. He’s getting married to the girls mother, Julie played by Lauren Bittner, both are really great here. The scares start really fast so we don’t get a lot of laid back time with them, but the moments we do get are very heart warming. I liked them both.
The main problem I had with the film is that the “found footage” is too smooth. If we are really suppose to be watching actually video tape there should be some grit to it. Some fuzzyness in places. I know this is a small nitpick. Another issue I had is the film kind of ends in a weird moment, one that I think leaves a lot of plot holes for the other two films. Now maybe they are simply setting up Paranormal Activity 4 but it left me asking questions. Still the movie is filled with great scares and is very strong in acting and story. If you don’t like these movies this one might not win you over, if you’re a fan you might just walk with this one being your favorite.