Paranormal Activity 3

They’re baaaaaacck! Those groovy ghoulies haunting Katie and Kristi are back knocking over chairs and hating on kitchen appliances. Except that this is a prequel so they’re not really back so much as here for the first time. Until the next prequel.

We have speculated that they could keep going back, at least to the grandmother’s story, since it seems to have been her supernatural shenanigans that started the demonic wheels in motion. Except, as The Boy pointed out, “accidentally” filming it gets trickier the farther back you go.

If you were interested in telling the story it would make a lot of sense to switch to a more traditional sort of movie. But you’re just interested in maximizing profits and number of sequels, you’d just switch to super 8, 16mm, or whatever. So, there’s not much doubt as to which way this franchise will go.

This movie takes place in the dark days of 1988, with young Julie and her two daughters, and Julie’s boyfriend, Dennis, a wedding videographer (VHS, baby!) all living together happily somewhere in the suburbs.

Then, you know, stuff happens.

The form and technique of this movie is the same as the previous two in the series, as you might imagine. The characters are a little more likable, with Lauren Bittner and Chris Smith in the parental roles. Dennis, in particular, is more in tuned and aware than his wife, unlike the previous two films where the husbands were aggressively clueless.

I’m liking the backfilling of the story, though it’s not as tightly integrated as the second film, and things we were told in both the previous movies wouldn’t seem to be true. I don’t count this as a lack of continuity, as the “unreliable narrative” device is not only logical, it’s pretty well explained by this film.

Sadly, since it was Christmas vacation, we had the usual contingent of clueless teens who can’t tell the  difference between their living room and a public theater and they’d been hitting the bong pretty hard. When the family travels to Moorpark, California, the howling didn’t subside for 5 minutes. (We saw the movie just outside of Moorpark.)

We liked it anyway. The devices are holding up, in the sense that if you liked them in the previous films you’ll probably still like them. It won’t last forever, of course.

Anything else of interest? Well, Lauren Bittner is awful cute. (How cute? One of her credits is “Basbeball Cutie”.)  Both she and Smith I think look better in their ‘80s styles than their current looks.  The ’80s vibe is over-all kind of cute.

They have to use a book on demons instead of the Internet.

Liked it, but I’m not exactly champing at the bit for the inevitable fourth movie.

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