I saw Paranormal Activity 3 and enjoyed the movie. Most movies dealing with paranormal scares are wildly over-the-top. Nobody believes in these special effects; CGI doesn’t scare anyone. The Paranormal Activity movies are effective because they produce the illusion of reality. A hallway light mysteriously turning on and off can be a more chilling then computer-generated monstrosities.
As reported on Reuters: “Paranormal” is arguable the most profitable film property of all time. The first installment, made for a mere $15,000, grossed $193.35 million worldwide. The second, made for $3 million, grossed $177.51 million worldwide. And the third, which opened Friday, opened to $54 million — the highest-grossing opening weekend for a horror film ever and the biggest October opening ever. Its budget: $5 million.”
People respond to the paranormal! These movies succeed because they feel real. That is their whole premise. Plus, it is a fairly family friendly movie compared to other horror movies. Which begs the question: how realistic was the paranormal activity portrayed in the movie?
The movie is about a demonic poltergeist. Poltergeist activity, as reported in real life, starts out with small knocks and such and may progress towards more significant occurrences such as objects being thrown. There is a number of convincing documented poltergeist cases. Skeptics dismiss these events as hoaxes or the result of children’s pranks. However, when some of these cases are looked at in detail, we discover compelling evidence for the reality of poltergeist activity.
Paranormal Activity 3 shows some realistic activity, such as the manipulation of electronic devices (lights turn on and off), unexplained noises, even objects being pushed or hurled. Those effects have been reported. I also like how there is a delay between events. Paranormal events occur infrequently.
The movie certainly exaggerates what has been described in true poltergeist situations. An invisible force lifting someone off the ground by the hair makes for a good scare, but is not likely. For levitation, the energy required to lift something off the ground and remain suspended in the air is much greater then to push or hurl something. The paranormal is not supernatural. The laws of nature still apply to a great extent.
SPOILER ALERT! I will discuss a plot topic. Don’t read further until you have seen the movie!
One aspect of the movie that struck me as pure Hollywood make-believe is the source of the demonic entity. Witches! Not real life Wiccans but the devil-worshipping witches depicted centuries ago. Such “witches” never even existed. Broom flying, Sabbath attending, shape-changing witches were a fabrication of Christian superstition. Today it’s hard to imagine people were once tortured and executed in the name of hunting witches, but it happened.
To revive the evil witch stereotype is an insult to all the people who actually died because of this superstition. I’d prefer the movie let the nameless entity remain a mysterious force. The unexplainable is scarier and truer. If this movie franchise begins to explain everything with typical Hollywood solutions, it will fail. Keep it real!