A bump in the basement is all it takes for most of us. Maybe some will survive the bump and only jump when the shutters fly up. Still, some would call both these things pure coincidence and wouldn’t admit to fear until an invisible demon drags them to the bathroom at three in the morning to watch the ghost of Michael Jackson give a post-life and eye-opening rendition of Man in the Mirror.
Paranormal Activity 3 completes the trifecta in shocking audiences with home footage of creepy, supernatural happenings centered on the sister duo of Kristi and Katie. The third film takes us back to the roots of the story, showing Kristi and Katie’s experience with a demonic figure named “Toby”. Eventually, we find out that Toby wants something from Kristi (and will drag people out of their beds, trash bedrooms, and stand in dust piles until he gets it), thus connecting the film back to the previous two.
A staple of the PA franchise is the home footage. Because the movie is set in 1988, the cameras aren’t nearly as clear as in the previous two installments. However, the game is stepped up when an oscillator is introduced. Dennis, the step-dad of Katie and Kristi, strips down an oscillating fan and places a camera on it. This effect serves as a unique way to scare the viewer, leaving them guessing what they may see as the oscillator completes a cycle.
PA 3 serves out more shock moments than the previous two but also relies on eeriness. From women with masks emerging from closets to a bunch of creepy old women standing around in dark garages, the movie sets an unsettling tone. Despite the usual downtime that comes with these movies (watching people sleeping CAN get rather dull), PA 3 will make the viewer jump one minute and have them uncomfortably fidgeting in their seat the next.
One complaint that I can see people having with this movie is the ambiguity of it all. As previously mentioned, Toby wants something from Kristi, and ultimately Kristi agrees. However, it is never revealed what Toby wants. This forces the audience to think back to the previous two films and make educated guesses. Many moviegoers don’t want to think. I, on the other hand, loved that the film didn’t shove the plot down our throats. They leave it up for us to decide.
Toby may put Kristi and her family through the ringer, but at least he doesn’t drag her out of bed to a shocking and unworldly rendition of Man in the Mirror, right? It’s morbid to see a young girl wearing a wedding dress and being so willing to give herself to a demon, but it’s not Michael Jackson. So watch your dust piles, get the oscillating fan ready, and enjoy the paranormal ride!