Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) - Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Ocena recenzenta: 3/10

Following on from the first two films, this is a prequel as we follow the two women from the first films, Katie and Kristi, in the year 1988 when they are young children and first start to experience not-so-normal activity. This is a 'found footage film' so of course there needs to be some sort of contrivance to have these events filmed and in this case it's the boyfriend (Dennis) of their mother (Julie), a video editor that films wedding videos as his second job. While trying to film a sex tape with Julie they're interrupted by a mini-earthquake and flee the house. When he re-watches the aborted tape he notices something out of the ordinary and soon sets up a number of cameras around the house hoping to find further evidence of the supernatural........

Paranormal Activity is almost a sub-category in it's own right in the horror genre in it's approach to generating it's scares. After the film had ended that was what interested me more than the film itself. Basically the 'camera' shows a static scene or an everyday scene and keeps on that for a period of time until, bam!, something appears/jumps at the screen, races past an open doorway and you jump. It is quite effective but does it require much skill? You've all no doubt clicked on a link where there's a seemingly normal image and then a ghoulish image flashes on the screen with an accompanying god-almighty screech and you do jump. It's a natural reaction, which someone with five minutes free on his computer knocked up. What we have here is an entire film based on that premise but stretched out over 84 minutes stitched together with some minimal haunted/demon house story. I found myself analysing shots, seeing where the scares were going to come from, if anything was there that wasn't there in the previous shot; in a perverse way it reminded me of Haneke's Cache where you were glued to absorbing all the details of the scene but unfortunately the similarities end there. It became a game or exercise which took me out of the film, and it only occured because there's nothing else to the film. What the film failed to do, and what the series as a whole really fails with is building an atmosphere. In something like Kill List there's a palpable feeling of dread, in Cannibal Hollocaust there's an atmosphere of disgust and exploitation, in Blair Witch bewildered disorientation;'s a house where occasionally doors close by themselves. That's it. It takes genuine craft to build that tension and I don't feel that here. I don't feel that there's any real intent here except to extend the franchise.

Of course the camera contrivance feels ridiculous, even more so here. In one scene Kristi is ill and instead of acting like a real human being and seeing if she's OK, he's filming her while acting concerned. It makes no sense whatsoever for him to be filming this. There are numerous instances where it makes zero, nada, zilch sense for certain scenes to be on camera. And that strikes me as lazy; either go fully with this technique and have scenes that make sense for this or just film it normally. But then that's the films stamp the 'found footage' angle even if it isn't appropriate for that particular scene/plot. The acting is difficult to judge since so much of what is required is to either act normal or freaked out, that's it. I can't say it's bad only that the character's actions make absolutely no sense and that I felt nothing for them. They're merely there to react to stuff. Stuff like doors closing or slamming shut, blinds closing, noises/thuds in the night, pans falling down by THEMSELVES This is not scary; that they can occasionally cause a slight shock/jump doesn't mean it's scary

It's a film that delights in deliberately boring you witless and just as you're about abandon life watching the thing they give you a jump-scare to break up the tedium. It lacks the basic elements of realistic/semi-realistic/barely thinking single celled organism characters and reactions, engaging plots or even that many genuine scares. But the film makers have come across a formula that works; a cheap way to make a film that brings in over $100 million compared to the budget of $5 million. No risk for the studio/distributors and almost guaranteed returns, showing that even if the formula has worn out it's welcome for me, especially when so lazily applied, there's still an appetite for it. That, more than the actual film itself is the truly scary thing.