Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paranormal Activity 3

This movie really really terrified me when I saw it last year.  I was actually cringing and tears sprang to my eyes at one part because I was so freaked out.  Going home wasn't much fun after the movie was over, because I was alone and scared and of course everything in my apartment conspired against me to make weird noises and terrify me into a coma.  I wasn't relishing the experience of watching this movie again this year, but after seeing part 4 and having a lackluster reaction to it, I wanted to remind myself why I liked the third installment so much, plus chronologically the films should be ordered 3, 1, 2, and 4, so I wanted to watch the other films in this series in that order.  It was a good experience.  This movie didn't terrify me as much as it did the first time I saw it (which was actually a good thing) but it definitely gave me chills.

This movie is a prequel.  After an opening sequence kind of setting up the idea, the movie goes back to when Katie and Kristi, the women from the first and second movies, were little girls.  the first and second movies give us an idea that something supernatural and terrifying happened to the girls when they were little and changed their lives forever, and we get the idea that whatever happened set a demon upon them which followed them throughout their lives thereafter, and this is the story of what happened back then.  It's actually kind of tragic, because when the home movies begin, we meet the man who is their mom's new boyfriend (the first man she's dated after their father died) and we get to like him, and we know that things aren't going to be pleasant for him in this movie.  After accidentally videotaping something in the house that appears to be supernatural phenomena, the boyfriend decides to set up cameras around the house to record and see if he can catch anything else.  He's a videographer, so it's fun for him at first, until things get increasingly scary and it becomes clear that whatever is in the house is dangerous and might mean the family actual harm.

This movie is cool for me partly because I was the same age as the little girl Kristi in 1988, so I remember the toys and things she has around her room, and her actions and reactions ring true to me because I probably would have said and done the same things she did in a lot of this movie.  Seeing little kids around evil things always freaks me out, and hearing Kristi's conversations with Toby, her "imaginary friend" in this movie, give me the chills.  I also remember playing "Bloody Mary" like Katie does in this movie, so that gives me a nostalgic twinge.  I probably would have thought it was cool to have a ghost in the apartment until it got too scary and freaked me out.  everything rings pretty true and makes me like this movie more.  There are also little touches throughout the movie that really get under my skin and freak me out, like the scene with the sheet.  That haunted me for weeks after I saw the movie and still gets to me now.  I noticed more about it this year than I did when I saw it last year (probably was too busy crying and hyperventilating back then to pay much attention).

There are some caveats, of course.  The movie stretches the limits of plausibility a bit by having people carry the camera around when they totally would have dropped it and ran.  throughout the movie, the cameras stay where they're set up around the house, so that doesn't bother me, but in the end they break this by having people carry the camera around long after any other person would have dropped it and bolted, so it's a little ridiculous.  I can think of some ways they could have gotten around it, so it's kind of lazy on the part of the filmmakers to leave it in that way.  Other than those few minor quibbles though, I really enjoyed this movie, even the second time around.  It holds up well, and I was afraid it wouldn't, so I was grateful.

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