Oct. 26, 2011 - Issue #836: Winter Guide 2011
Paranormal Activity 3
Paranormal Activity 3 suffers from a clichéd witchcraft quasi-solution and the growing implausibility of Dennis carrying a camera in even the most terrifying and sudden of situations. But the stationary cameras set up in the house slowly bleed out the tension, particularly one, which slowly rotates—we wait to see what's revealed with each oscillating pan. "Boo!"s build and moments of near-fright outweigh any graphic horror, left to the end.
The metacommentary on movies' phantom power is eerily effective—from the start, it's as if there's a ghost in the machine, editing and watching this footage alongside us. Dennis's filming may not detect demons so much as inspire and enrage them. Directors Joost and Schulman (Catfish) capture a creepiness in the sleepy, after-hour spaces of home. The footage both detaches Dennis from the growing horror and draws him in, while the film does the same, keeping us at a seemingly safe distance only to suck us toward the screen and the truth we want it to reveal.
Directed by: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
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