Film Fans spooked by 'Paranormal Activity 3'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the film of the week: "Paranormal Activity 3." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of 4 stars

If you were a fan of the first two episodes, you will probably like this one, too. Practicing "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," the filmmakers tried in the first two installments to provide screams and scares and call it entertainment, but pretty much without much substance.

The next step is to make a prequel (not a novel idea) and use modern film techniques to finally put in enough scares so that followers will recognize the characters, and don't really care that much about the story, just scare me and make me spill my popcorn.

They have succeeded in this version with more of the same -- only better. They also provided a few silly laughs to ease the tension.

If you're a fan of horror movies and enjoy the tension of sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next whatever to make you jump and scream, this one's for you. Ultimately, it sets up the next sequel, but I can wait.

-- Steve Kalberg, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 Stars

I had low expectations going to this movie, for a few reasons:

A) I'm not a teenager

B) I don't "do" scary/horror movies

C) Scary movies generally have "unknown" actors, so the films aren't typically characterized by great acting

D) Did I mention I'm not a teenager?

Possibly because I haven't been jaded in seeing lots of other movies of this genre, but this movie scared the living daylights out of me. Have you ever noticed how scary movies tend to have a child with dark hair, pale skin and wearing a white nightgown? (I've seen plenty of previews on TV). This movie had not one but TWO of them.

I was already on edge, and two children with dark hair came running out the entrance wearing their pajamas, laughing and screaming! (Thankfully, not wearing the token white nightgowns, but that little caveat did little to de-stress my already-frayed nerves).

The movie revolves around one of the young children in particular, who has an invisible friend. Strange noises and occurrences begin happening at the young couple's home, so since Dennis, played by Chris Smith, has a career of filming weddings on VHS, (yes, this movie takes place in the '80s), and installs his video cameras in several rooms to try to see for himself what's causing the commotion. There are several suspenseful scenes in the movie; some explainable and funny and others just plain scary.

-- Cathryn Veal, Lawrenceville

2 1/2 out of 4 Stars

"Paranormal Activity 3" shows that if coming up with new magic tricks isn't an option, then performing old tricks with flair will suffice.

If you've seen the first two films in the franchise then you're familiar with the demon-plagued sisters, Katie and Kristi. In "PA3," directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman turn back the clock to 1988 when VHS was the next big thing and the sisters were just children.

The movie never really breaks any new ground but it does continue to exploit one of our deepest, unspoken fears -- that we're vulnerable when we sleep. If you're looking for Oscar-worthiness, you've stumbled into the wrong theater. But if you're just in the mood for sheer knee-jerk scares, then "Paranormal Activity 3" delivers the goods.-- Lindsey Hodges, Snellville