In the previous installment, “Paranormal Activity” and “Paranormal Activity 2” created more questions than answers as Katie killed Micah, her sister, and brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephew, Hunter.There were still many questions left unanswered. It was time for a sort of origin story.
"Paranormal Activity 3" begins with boxes of video tapes of Katie and Kristi’s childhood that lead to the rest of the movie being a flashback. This film jumps back in time to Katie’s childhood and gives the audience a deeper understanding of the connection that Katie has with this demon that seems to be haunting her. The introduction of Toby, the strange imaginary friend, is the first experience with the demon. Katie and Kristi think it is just a fun playmate at first, but as things progress, Toby gets more and more violent and possessive of the girls.
The girls’ mother, Julie, and her boyfriend, Dennis, show concern for Katie and Kristi in their reactions to the footage that Dennis is able to capture of the strange goings on. Things moving in the middle of the night, strange sounds captured on tape, all lead the adults to be worried that something supernatural is happening. As Dennis continues his investigation, placing cameras around the home, he also uncovers a strange symbol in the girls’ closet. This symbol, a triangle with a circle inside is also found in a book about demonology.
The demon begins to be less of a friend and more of a terror as the story progresses, causing the girls and the adults to be very afraid of what may happen. As the action culminates, Dennis and Julie face the demon in a battle that they have no hope of winning. The demon kills Julie and possesses Katie while a group of women, demon worshipers or witches, complete a strange ritual involving the girls. Finally, Dennis dies as he faces Katie and Lori, the girl’s grandmother.
One of the more unique items in this film is the use of an oscillating fan base that the video camera is attached to for a back and forth shot that allows for some scares. This was an interesting way to use common household items to supplement for film equipment that was not readily available for home use in 1988 when the film was set.
As of the end of the third movie, there is still one unanswered question. Why did Katie kidnap Hunter at the end of “Paranormal Activity 2”? Please come back for the next installment of this review of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise to find out the secrets.