I am completely surprised, shocked, stunned, stupefied, speechless, incredulous, and all other forms of being amazed beyond belief by something I will never even attempt to understand. What has me so astronomically bemused you ask? Well, here it is! In its first six days on the big screen, “Paranormal Activity 3” raked in an astounding $60, 459,442.
What in the bloody hell is wrong with people these days? The economy is struggling, and why people actually are shelling out their hard-earned dollars to see one of the biggest rip offs ever perpetrated against moviegoers is totally beyond my realm of comprehension.
Because this movie is set in 1988, it serves as a prequel to the first two films in the series. Whereas Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) are adults in “Paranormal 1&2,” in this movie they are youngsters portrayed by Chole Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown. The girls’ mother is Julie (Lauren Bittner), who has since divorced their father and is remarried to Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), who is self-employed and works from home shooting videos of weddings. Because of his job, Dennis obviously has plenty of video equipment around his house in Carlsbad, Calif., and so when the family begins to hear things going bump in the night, Dennis decides he will capture the noisy spirit on video.
To make sure he has most of the house covered, Dennis sets up video cameras in the bedrooms, and then in a stroke of genius, he attaches a camera to the base of a rotating fan so that the camera can constantly pan between the living room and the kitchen. And for the next hour we are treated to footage of Dennis, Julie, Katie, and Kristi sleeping.
Now let me warn you about something. If you saw the trailer for this movie and walk into the theater expecting to see the same things that you saw in it, you are going to be very disappointed because the trailer is shamelessly misleading. In fact, I’ve read where at least 50 percent of the elements shown in the trailer didn’t make it into the final cut of the film. Perhaps that’s the first thing that makes the movie a complete waste of time.
And here’s what happens as you watch the movie. You sit there watching Dennis and Julie sleep. Then the scene changes, and you sit in your seat watching the two girls sleep. The scene changes again, and you sit there watching alternating shots of the empty living room and the empty kitchen. And then everything is repeated. Every so often there is a noise in the distance. Are you frightened yet?
Throughout the film the Kristi talks about her imaginary friend named Toby, and at one point we see a shot of one of her being lifted off the floor by her hair, and then she runs screaming to her mother that Toby pulled her hair. The two most “shocking” events in the film don’t occur until the final few moments, but both of them are so preposterous that they are ludicrously laughable.
As the final credits began to roll by, I pondered my plight. I had just watched a movie that people across the country are flocking to see. What had I missed? I found the entire film insufferably dull and boring. What is wrong with me? Am I incapable of being frightened? I quickly registered a mental answer of no to that question because I remember being completely freaked out by films such as “Psycho,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Seven,” and “The Ring.”
After convincing myself that I indeed do have an internal fright meter, I reached the following conclusion. I do not now believe, nor have I ever believed, in the supernatural. Show me a ghost, and I’ll believe. Show me demonic possession, and I’ll believe. Show me a table shooting across the room by itself, and I’ll believe. But until I see these things with my own eyes, I will continue to remain unconvinced that such phenomena exist. Thus, I thought “The Exorcist” was a joke, and films like “The Omen” do absolutely nothing for me. I am much more frightened and disturbed by films that deal with sadistically perverted serial killers because I find that a lot more real than people being tormented and frightened by an entity that they can’t see.
So here’s the bottom line. Those who buy into the whole idea of paranormal activity probably will love this movie. In fact, one of the managers at the Marquee Cinema at the Highlands told me that some of those who had watched the movie were so frightened that they are now sleeping with the light on. Good for them, and I sincerely hope they enjoy being scared to death
As for me, I’ll remain contented as a nonbeliever until something or someone convinces me otherwise. Therefore, “Paranormal Activity 3” earns a final score of two because of a rather impressive special effect in the final minute. Otherwise it would have received a fat zero.
Now it’s time to put this review to bed. It’s 1 a.m., my wife is asleep, and the house is deadly silent. I embrace the darkness and the quiet. It is so calming and peaceful. Wait! Did I just hear a door slam in the basement?