Paranormal Activity 3 was as trashy as a horror movie can be. It was also ridiculously fun to watch in the crowded theater.
The movie’s attempts to be creepy are not terrible, and there is a surprisingly intense subtext that makes the audience wonder just how dark it’s going to get.
There are more than a few scenes that skitter the line between impressively disturbing and completely hilarious without a proper mindset toward the movie.
In regards to camera work, the third of the “Paranormal” series does nothing the first two did not already try, and it is an almost exact replica of the pacing and style of its predecessors.
Using the ever-convenient home security camera setup, the film breaks none of the series’ established styles. Once the oscillating camera is introduced, it becomes obvious just how much it will be used to set up cheap scares.
The movie abuses that accursed slow-turning camera to no end. Without spoiling too much, there are scenes that exist solely to mess with the audience. While it relies considerably on the exact same style of horror as it always has (small, personal intrusions and breechings, feelings of absolute and ever-present danger, an inability for the protagonists to find somewhere safe), it does give a bit more direction to the entity at large in the haunting.
This changes the basic measure of fright somewhat, as it has transitioned from a faceless, nameless, malevolent entity that does not even allow understanding of what it wants to a faceless, nameless, malevolent entity that definitely wants something specific. Whether that is a good thing is a matter of the viewer’s taste.
Alternatively, there is some stretching of the credibility of the characters. More than once, there were actions taken that are very difficult to believe. The “how” of the matter could have been handled better.
That’s a good indicator of the story being kind of weak—it hinges on specific actions and specific circumstances.
However, barring those few instances, the characters are quite well-done. The two male leads share a curious fascination with the Nondescript Spooky Ghost but manage to maintain a solid level of freaking out when things do go down.
It’s dark, and it’s fun, in a guilty kind of way, especially in theaters.