Friday, October 21, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3

In the Fall of 2009 a small low budget home video-style horror movie took Hollywood by storm after slowly building a following, playing at various film festivals for two years and eventually impressing important folks like Steven Spielberg.  The original version only cost around $15,000 and is a good example of the theory that what you don't see is often scarier than what you do.  (Take note, big budget horror filmmakers!)  At Spielberg's suggestion, and with DreamWorks' additional funding, the ending was changed to include a few special effects and Paramount/DreamWorks bought the domestic rights for the film and any sequels for $300,000.  The original plan was to remake it and only include the original as a bonus on the DVD.  But once they realized how positive audience reactions were, they decided to keep it as is.  This turned out be a very wise decision.  (Who even remembers the significantly bigger budget sequel to the inspiration for this film, 'The Blair Witch Project'?  Often times more money = worse movie.)

'Paranormal Activity' went on to gross over $100M, so it's no surprise that a sequel quickly followed the next October.  And while I'm a big fan of the first, I found the second to be mostly rehash.  It works as a companion piece to the original but doesn't really add much to it.

And now we have the third (and perhaps final?) installment.  So does this one bring anything new to the table?  A little.  It's a prequel to the first two, giving some insight into the backstory.  But the format is basically the same.  And while I can't reward it for being innovative, I must admit it's very scary.  In fact, I'm still tense as I write this.  So if you're a fan of the first two, and like a good scare, then go see it for sure.  But if you haven't seen the first two, or don't care for horror films, steer clear.

Grade: B+

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