Why see the 'Paranormal Activity' films in the first place? Despite not being a fan of the found footage/video surveillance style of filming generally, the basic premise to begin with was quite interesting. Also wanted to see whether they lived up to the hype (both positive and negative, have always heard very mixed views and the divisiveness both ways have been quite extreme) and which side I'd fall under.
After finally seeing them, after putting off seeing them for a while (mainly due to being behind with film watching and also being wary of the hype both extremes), to sum up in one word what my feelings on the 'Paranormal Activity' films are, it is indifference. Certainly don't have the vehement hatred some have for the films, nor do they strike me as masterpieces of the genre.
Didn't care for the original 'Paranormal Activity', though there were things that were impressive, and liked the second even less, some effective moments but too far and between in a dull and repetitive second instalment. 'Paranormal Activity' is a different story. Actually in some weird way had high hopes for it, with the trailer it had it had potential to be the best film in the series. The film itself is sadly the anti-thesis of the trailer, with what was so good in the trailer weirdly not in the finished product, it felt like a completely different film altogether as others have understandably said. Do agree with those that say it's inferior to the first two, making pretty much all the mistakes of the second film and making even more flaws as well.
'Paranormal Activity 3' is not irredeemable. There are two scares that come off well, the hair-raising Bloody Mary sequence and the jumping-out-of-one's-seat part with the babysitter. Some of the lighting is eerie and the film does pick up momentum in the second half when one is seriously considering bailing out.
Something that never occurs to me to do when watching a film, being someone who believes in giving anything a fair chance and that anything that isn't watched all the way through shouldn't be commented upon, certainly not in the manner that occurs all too frequently on this site). Katie Featherston does her best though with fairly little to do.
Unfortunately there is a lot wrong with 'Paranormal Activity 3'. One of the biggest problems is that it's dull and at worst even more of a slog than the second film, with a snail's pace in the first half and a lot of pointless downtime. Apart from two moments, the film to me just wasn't scary, there is not any brooding intensity or ominous foreboding and very little sense of dread or unsettling eeriness. Too much of it felt mundane, through the motions and even more too calculated than the second film.
Katie Featherston aside, like with 'Paranormal Activity 2', the acting is either annoying or bland, not helped by characters that have very little to them or frustrate the viewer with truly stupid and sometimes borderline illogical decision making. The acting and line delivery for the children couldn't have been more way off. The camera work is still rather gimmicky and annoyingly repetitive, while the dialogue especially in the downtime/filler moments (which are too many and either serve no point or incredibly dull) is enough to make one cringe.
All too often, the storytelling is thin and repetitive, with a initially interesting idea that has now gotten fatigued and stale. The downtime moments feel little more than filler that easily could have trimmed and it would have made the pacing much tauter. The direction occasionally shines but is mostly flat. Also agree on being hugely let down by the ending. Just when things started picking up, it all comes crashing down towards the end, with things becoming unintentionally funny and ridiculous and then it just ends with a lot unresolved.
Overall, pretty weak. 3/10 Bethany Cox