Christopher B. Landon, Oren Peli
Henry Joose, Ariel Schulman
Katie Featherston as: Katie Rey
Sprague Grayden as: Kristi Rey
Lauren Bittner as: Julie
Chloe Csengery as: Young Katie
Jessica Tyler Brown: Young Kristi
Christopher Nichoas Smith as: Dennis
As we know from the first two Paranormal Activity films sisters Katie and Kristie Rey had a childhood like any other…oh except theirs involved a demonic presence that followed them to adulthood and eventually ruined their lives and took out most of their loved ones. Paranormal Activity 3 is a prequel, and gives us a frame-by-frame (literally) view of just what did happen to these young girls living with their quirky mom Julie and her boyfriend Dennis back in 1988. Lucky for us, Dennis is a videographer by trade and sets up cameras all over the house in attempt to figure out what’s causing the ‘bumps’ in the night.
The lack of sophistication of video equipment in the ‘80s is by no means a detriment to Paranormal Activity 3. Conversely, the makeshift ‘camera sitting on a swivel-fan base’ makes for greater tension as it goes from the kitchen (no ghost) to the living room (far away ghost) and back to the kitchen again (CLOSE UP GHOST), than any stationary camera. I’m a fan of the franchise in fact for its continued ability to terrorize audiences with suspense in lieu of blood and gore, and for relatively no budget (the first $15,000 film grossed over $100 million). The Saw series may have to step aside.
Paranormal Activity 3 brings another new element to the series – characters we can identify and empathize with. Other than the whole demon thing, the Reys are a compelling and likable family – one you’d want to have dinner with. The film’s Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman offer a light and witty take on the series that along with it’s mastery in tension, pushes this one above its predecessors.
Things just keep getting worse in the Rey home. Kristi’s invisible playmate Toby is growing more and more ill-tempered by the day. Dennis loses his business partner to a child’s game of ‘Bloody Mary’ in the bathroom. Finally when the kitchen goes completely Poltergeist on them, the family packs up and heads to Grandma’s house where they’ll be safe. And therein lies the answer to the question we’ve all been wondering since the original film – why them?
Paranormal Activity 3 is a most excellent prequel and as a side note, puts an end to the question, “I wonder if they’ll make a 4th”?