In 2007, ordinary guy Oren Peli gave us the bone chilling ghost story "Paranormal Activity". It was one of the creepiest films ever made and he did it for the grand total of $15,000 (that's fifteen thousand dollars and not fifteen million dollars). It went on to make $193,355,800 worldwide. that's not a typo... that's one hundred ninety three MILLION bucks off an investment of fifteen grand and in about a four month period. I'm pretty sure his parents are proud of him.


Oren wrote and produced but did not direct the next episode "Paranormal Activity 2". He sold the franchise to Paramount which spent $3 million and grossed $177 million worldwide. Extremely good, but still not as impressive as the original. But you knew that there would be a third installment because as a gambler would say in the casino - they are way ahead of the house and can't lose.


I can say, they spent more than $3 million to produce this one than the other two and, they're profit margin will shrink some more. But since the studio is nearly $350 million ahead of the house, why should they care?


Exactly, why should they care? Hell, the creator doesn't even care any more. Oren has even moved on to other things, like an upcoming film titled "Area 51" a film he wrote, produced and directed. The directing helm for the "Paranormal Activity series has been - at least for now - handed over to Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. You'll remember them from their 2010 fake documentary "Catfish". That was also done on a shoestring budget so they knew how to work with pennies and get decent quality.


This time they reverted back to VHS camera formula from the original, if you recall they use closed circuit cameras in the second one. But this time there is a lack of continuity.


The story is a prequel and goes back to when Katie (Katie Featherston and Chloe Csengery) and her little sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden and Jessica Tyler Brown) are children growing up in Calsbad CA. Kristi befriends an invisible friend named Tod and things begin to happen. But they only start happening after her mother's live-in beau sets up a video camera to make a sex tape with Katie's mom (Lauren Bittner).


After noticing something out of the ordinary, he sets up three cameras - one on the former base of an oscillating fan - to observe things around the house. Sure enough, things start happening from simple bumps to the old bed sheet ghost routine.

Katie, as a little girl gets scared shitless while Kristi concedes it's just Toby acting out. Kristi even admits that Toby my get pissed and start hurting people.


I'll leave it with that, save to mention that leaving the house only gave Toby a reason to travel with the family thus reinforcing that Toby was a demon and not a ghost. Demons attached themselves to a person while ghost can only attach them selves to on location.


The inconsistencies occur during the so-called taping when it's obvious another camera is used to tape the primary POV camera. If you recall the original it was obvious only one camera was being used which added to the whole lost footage concept.


The other gaff is more of a trivia thing. Remember in the original the adult Katie was pretty much clueless as to what was going on, while this one clearly sets out that she had been haunted her entire life. Granted Katie is the only character throughout all three episodes giving little known actress Katie Featherston continued employment. Henry

Joost and Ariel Schulman drop the ball on this one - from a technical point of view. Come on... a bed sheet with an obvious balloon under it? The editing was rag tag also, making it look more like it was edited rather than found first person footage.


"Paranormal Activity 3" does offer things that go bump in the night, but it's really not that creepy anymore. Avid fans may still get a kick out of it, but to say the franchise has run it's course is an understatement. That means nothing because there probably will be a fourth one because the studio is way ahead of the house!   -- GEOFF BURTON