paranormal activity 3Paramount Pictures

“You’re not gonna see anybody play Bloody Mary like I’m about to play Bloody Mary.”

And the oddly popular set of found footage movies in the Paranormal Activities franchise continues with the third installment. This time around, it’s a prequel! Yippy Skippy.

So, the year is 1988. I was a Freshman in High School at the time, but that’s not really important to the story. A young Katie and Kristi are living with their mother and her boyfriend. After an incedent involving an earthquake while the mom and boyfriend are trying to make a sex tape (what’s up with that, anyway?), the boyfriend decides to set up cameras all over the house to capture anything else that’s weird. This includes a setup in the girls’ bedroom–which should have resulted in the mother kicking him out of the house and filing a restraining order. But no, she agrees to this not-at-all creepy idea. But then, all sorts of weird stuff starts getting captured on video: Kristi seems to have an invisible friend named Toby (who doesn’t seem to be all that imaginary), a babysitter gets freaked out by a couple of things, all sorts of occult symbols are popping up in the oddest places, wacky Poultergeist-y stuff start happening. And then Grandma shows up, and the proverbial poo-poo hits the fan.

So, on the plus side of things, we get a bit more backstory filled in with the two ill-fated sisters Katie and Kristi, giving us an idea that this wasn’t just some random thing that just happened arbirtrarily. Which…kind of takes the mystery out of things a bit, admitedly. Otherwise, the movie sticks with the same tricks and tropes as the previous two entries–albeit set in a different time period–with a small handful of somewhat effective creep-out bits, but mostly, again, the tension comes from watching closely waiting for something to happen.

Overall, I found Paranormal Activity 3 to be interesting, but mostly retread ideas from the other movies.