The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Paranormal Activity 3 | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Paranormal Activity 3

Directed by: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Starring: Christopher Nicholas Smith, Lauren Bittner, Jessica Tyler Brown

Recently a cinema-goer brought a legal case against the producers of the movie "Drive", claiming that the misleading trailer duped her into spending money to see a type of movie she had no interest in. Personally I didn't feel the trailer misrepresented that movie at all. The same can't be said of the two movies the team of Joost & Schulman have brought us.
Watch the trailer for their debut "Catfish". What genre is it selling? I don't think anyone would disagree when I say this trailer is very much in the thriller/horror style. Anyone who saw the movie will tell you it most certainly was neither a thriller or a horror. Ok so all the footage in the trailer is footage from the film but the use of moody doom-laden music and selective quotes are purposely misleading.
With "Paranormal Activity 3" they've taken things a step further. The original trailer released features the two girls playing "Bloody Mary", a variation of "Candyman", in front of a mirror. This scene never appears in the film. If you've watched the second trailer you might think it's giving away all the film's big scare moments. Well think again, almost nothing from this trailer occurs in the film.
Now we've seen this in the past with lines of dialogue and such appearing slightly differently in trailers but this is taking things to a whole new level. With a lot of this footage it couldn't even be argued that they were deleted from the final film as they just wouldn't make sense in it's context.
Joost & Schulman might think they're playing a clever trick but the audience I saw it with certainly were not amused. I even saw one couple arguing about getting a refund with a staff member. When "Catfish" was released on DVD I was working in a rental store and I got so many complaints over this damn trailer. At a time when people are spending their money so cautiously this kind of trickery is inexcusable. People have a right to be pissed off. If you order chicken from your local Chinese takeaway then arrive home and realise they gave you beef you're going back for your chicken.
No doubt we'll see "the version you didn't see in theatres" when this hits DVD. I'm so sick of this nonsense, if you're willing to fork out for a cinema ticket you should be given the optimum version of the film.
Anyway onto the film itself. One problem with having a knowledge of film-making is that it can create a wall between you and the story, you can always see the strings. In no genre are the strings more visible than the found-footage movie. Here for example we are meant to believe that the footage was recorded in 1988 on VHS. I'm pretty sure VHS didn't look like HD Video back in 1988 and I'm also pretty certain it didn't record surround sound. The producers seem to think having the date in the corner of the screen and a reference to "Back To The Future" are enough to fool the audience. I can't wait to see how they market the Blu-Ray. It'll be the first movie ever shot on VHS to have 1080p picture and a 7.1 Surround Sound track.
The plot takes us back to the childhood of the sisters from the first two movies. Now this raises a troubling question; if they went through all this craziness as kids how come they seem so shocked when it happens again in their adult life. I was expecting the movie to end with some plot device like C3PO's memory banks being erased at the end of "Revenge Of The Sith". We get no such explanation which leads us to believe they were in on everything in the first two movies. Frankly I find this hard to swallow. The problem with many prequels is that they reinvent the mythology instead of enhancing it. For me the best examples of how prequels should be done are the later movies in the "Planet Of The Apes" series, they don't change how you view the first movie, they just add another layer of backstory.
Ever seen any of those web series they sometimes release to promote a movie or TV show? They usually consist of a few short episodes that might follow a side character or incidents set before the main storyline. This movie feels like a bunch of those strung together to make a feature. That's how poor the quality level is here. If it didn't have the name recognition a movie like this would never get near theatres.
My advice is to wait for the "longer, harder, faster, stronger, whatever" cut on DVD. That way you might actually get to see the movie that you've been sold.