Saturday, October 29, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: Paranormal Activity 3

2011, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman (Catfish) -- download

Somewhere in our hunt for horror movies, Marmy found posts that stated this was the best movie of the series, maybe the best horror movie of that year. Yeah, they were wrong. Very wrong.

Sorry, but i don't remember the original supposedly ground-breaking found-footage horror movie, that started the whole "nice suburban haunted house" idea. I do remember it was all jump scares, and the only thing that lent any actual scariness to it, was that the direction made the family, and the footage, very authentic. Once you really establish the mundanity of a situation, even the most benign scare can have weight.

And that is the only bank these movies have.

This one takes place in the 80s, when one of the girls from the first one was just a kid. Younger daughter Kristi has an imaginary friend who lives in the toy closet upstairs. Things start to get weird when the invisible "friend" starts asking weird things of Kristi, things not even she is sure she wants to do.

Meanwhile mom's BF and his brother are setting up cameras around the houses because they think it would be cool to catch whatever is going on. What they do catch is completely unsettling and the brother just runs away. Mom is upset, but never actually watches the footage. She is entirely dismissive of the whole thing, despite the evidence something fucking weird is going on. Y'know classic Sceptical Character trope.

The best scare of the movie is the floating blanket ghost child thing. It works well when see through the eyes of not-so-hidden camera, but from the ghost's point of view. Who was he scaring? If he never allows anyone to actually see him being clever, what is the point? Until he gets to messing around in the kitchen, the baby sitter is not even scared. I get it, it is a staple of horror movies, where we see things that scare us but the affected character is oblivious. But, this was just annoying.

Speaking of annoying. After filling out two thirds of the movie with the idea of an imaginary ghost friend demon thing and its connection to the youngest daughter, the movie spills headlong into some sort of ancient, family witch connection. This is where a tolerable jump-scare movie just got 70s silly. But it was probably tying together connections hinted at in the other movies.


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