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Trailer Breakdown: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3

Another teaser trailer has hit the interwebs, so I thought I'd break it down for all of your reading pleasure. It's the trailer for the upcoming horror film, Paranormal Activity 3, and rather than ramble on here, I'll just get right to it. Below is the video and then some of the questions and concerns that came up while I watched it. Enjoy!

And now for my thoughts and questions that arose while watching the trailer:

1) For starters, do they really need another film in the Paranormal Activity franchise?
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I was a huge fan of the smash-hit original back in 2009, and I was definitely a skeptic when they released the second film last year, but I ultimately reviewed it favorably (although my overall view of that film has changed a little bit since then). Still, there were many things to say about the second film, and in some ways, I thought it exceeded its predecessor. I liked how they set up the possibility for another sequel, but there didn't seem to be a need to make another film. However, part three was green-lit relatively quickly, so all my skepticism came rushing back. There's no reason that this upcoming film won't continue with the previous success, but I don't know if we should really be expecting all that much from this one. Apparently, the original's director-turned-producer Oren Peli has stated that this film will be scarier than the rest, and I'm just afraid he's setting too lofty of a goal for himself.

2) This film looks to be a prequel rather than a sequel. How does that play into its overall effectiveness?
I personally like the fact that the filmmakers chose to go back in time - in this case, to 1988 - to give us a little more of the background on the demon that haunts Katie and Kristi throughout the franchise. I think it adds a little bit of freshness that a continuation story might not have been

able to bring. Also, I think it adds the potential for more of an emotional connection to the girls playing the younger Katie and Kristi, a point where I thought the second film succeeded. As I mentioned in that particular review, part of the reason that Paranormal Activity 2 was so good was that it was able to pull at your heartstrings as well as your nerves. By adding a baby and a German shepherd into the mix, you couldn't help but get emotionally attached. Maybe the filmmakers picked up on this and thought that using children again might be the best way to go. However, there are some issues with the thought of a prequel. For example, because we ultimately know Katie and Kristi's fate, there's not going to be much suspense in terms of how they'll fare throughout this particular film. Sure, they're going to get scared time and time again, but at the end of the day, we know they're going to survive their childhood to some degree. Be looking for some massive twists and turns to keep the plot moving this time around.

3) On that note, I still want to know what happened to baby Hunter from the second film.
As of right now, it doesn't look like we'll really be getting much in terms of that part of the story, unless this "prequel" business is only a piece of what Paranormal Activity 3 will entail. If we don't get the answers to Hunter's whereabouts, we might be looking at a fourth film in 2012.

4) How much of Katie Featherston will we be seeing this time around?
As the first film's lead and a major source of drama in the second film, it goes without saying that we should expect Featherston to at least make an appearance at some point. The only way they could get away without her would be to keep the entire story as a prequel without any flash-forwards to more present day events, but because she's been the staple of the franchise, I'm not

sure whether they'll be able to pull that off. Still, there's no official word on the Internet Movie Database as to whether she'll be making an appearance, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

5) How will the directors fare with this type of material?
Normally, the course of direction wouldn't pose much of a problem as long as Peli remains on-board as a producer, but the two directors helmin this particular picture do send up a little bit of a red flag for me. Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, who made a name for themselves by crafting the 2010 faux documentary Catfish, have taken the reigns of this one, and I'm a little bit concerned as to how they'll approach it. They went to great lengths to prove to everyone that their last film was a true story, and I personally don't know if they've yet to come clean on that particular point of order. And considering this will really be their first foray into the horror genre - no, Catfish was not a horror film, or even a thriller, for that matter - it should be quite an interesting watch. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.

Paranormal Activity 3 is currently set to hit U.S. theaters on October 21, 2011.