This past weekend I took my girls to see “Paranormal Activity 3.” The three of us enjoy a good horror movie, and we loved the first Paranormal movie (the 2nd was sort of eh.) We had been watching the trailers and then the commercials for this movie for the past few months, and they left us eagerly anticipating it’s pre-Halloween release.

I have to admit I was kind of scared to see it. We rented the first two and they were viewed in the relative safety of our overly sunny living room, which took the edge off the creepiness by a lot. Now we were seeing the 3rd one in a dark, quiet theater – and the slogan the movie’s commercials were plugging were something along the lines of “this movie will mess up your brain.”


I questioned whether or not we should go, but my 16 year old called me lame and told me to man up, so off we went. To the 1 pm show – earliest available on a Saturday afternoon. I figured that would give us plenty of hours of daylight to shake the willies off. I mean, the thought of walking out of a theater into darkness after seeing one of these movies does not appeal to me in the least – and it’s more expensive at night anyway.

The theater was nearly empty. We could not figure out whether that was a plus or a minus. But, now that I think about it, I’ll count it as a bonus. I can recall seeing “Jurassic Park” in a very crowded theater, and when the raptor lunges out from behind the wire to scare poor Laura Dern, the girl behind me screamed so loud that I came close to turning around and punching her in the face. Her screeching directly into my ear made me jump in my seat higher than anything Steven Speilberg was dishing out.

As the movie began, I felt my body immediately tense up. I don’t know if any of you have seen the Paranormal Activity movies, but you have to pay attention to the stuff going on in the background, and you never know when something, totally out of nowhere, will happen. Therefore, I was bracing myself for the first round of jolts to my central nervous system. I have to say that the first 30 minutes or so were filled with what I consider to be “cheap shot” scares. They pulled crap that made me come close to throwing my popcorn in the air and I know I screamed “shit” at least twice. Yeah, I know my kids were there, but I was running on impulse at that point.

And once the story got into full swing I was totally riveted. By the time it was over I was torn between being relieved and wanting more. I know for sure that I was exhausted. There were points in the movie where I sat, a mom in her mid 40’s, peering through splayed fingers across my eyes. This movie was seriously suspenseful and pretty scary. And I LOVED it.

One of the things that struck us as odd and almost clever, was the fact that many of the scenes shown in the trailer and commercials are NOT in the movie. Therefore, you are never aware that something is coming for real. If you’ve seen it in the previews, you’ll be expecting the scare – but by omitting them from the movie, you are left in the dark and cannot predict anything. It’s also genius because now I want to get the dvd so I can see if they have a “deleted scenes” feature.

It’s no surprise to me to read that the movie is breaking horror movie records – I’m glad they are making clever, seriously creepy movies again. I liked the first “Saw” and thought “The Ring” was also pretty creepy, but I can’t think of a whole lot of great scary movies that were made over the past 10 or 15 years. “Halloween” is still a classic for me, and I won’t let my kids watch “The Exorcist” until they are no longer living under my roof. I just think it will scare them too much. I can still be haunted by Linda Blair’s possessed face when I wake up at 3 am.

There may be a few of you who disagree with my glowing recommendation of “Paranormal Activity 3.” My husband thought the first one was stupid and has therefore written off the rest. My sister, on the other hand, was so freaked out by the first Paranormal Activity that she made her daughter take it back to the store immediately after watching it. She thinks even the DVD case is evil. I think they are great, scary, exciting and suspenseful.

I really hope they make a 4th movie.