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October 24, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity3A fresh competitor for the title of "most-boring-horror-movie-ever," "Paranormal Activity 3" is a student film gone wrong. It is definitely one of the worst movie’s of the year. Sticking to the obsolete found-footage formula of its two predecessors, this prequel story to the franchise’s first two films starts out with the discovery of some VHS tapes by the adult versions of sisters Katie and Kristi, who appear as tikes when the tapes are played for us—the snoozing audience. A date and time-code stamp is forever present in the lower right-hand corner as inexplicable jump-cuts interrupt the surveillance-camera footage of a haunted family home in Carlsbad, San Diego. Daddy Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) is a wedding videographer who talks his wife Julie (Lauren Bittner) into letting him film them having sex. A ghost attack upsets the fun. Dennis is inspired to place surveillance cameras around the house to capture on tape whatever weird occurrences are going on. A ghost named Toby is Kristi’s not-so-imaginary pal of late.

Co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman won critical acclaim with their film "Catfish," but all that critical goodwill seems misplaced in light of their lazy efforts here. That so many newbie critics and callow audiences are falling over themselves about how “scary” they imagine "Paranormal Activity 3" is, speaks to a dearth of respectable horror movies. You're more likely to get indigestion than a nightmare from watching "Paranormal Activity 3." To pretend that this pathetic effort even holds a candle to a masterpiece of horror like William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" is pure folly of the most irresponsible kind. "Paranormal Activity 3" looks like it was shot for 20 bucks on a script that cost half as much. My cat could make a scarier movie. But then again my cat is a pretty scary little animal, unlike the helium-balloon-under-a-white-sheet ghost shown in "PA3."

Rated R. 84 mins. (F) (Zero Stars - out of five/no halves)

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