'Paranormal Activity 3' Trailer Hits, Global Anthropological Experiment With Film Masochists Begins

by Edward Davis
September 28, 2011 11:11 AM
21 Comments
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Just when you thought "The Blair Witch Project 5: It's Witchin' Time!" nailed the coffin shut in the accidentally successful, cheapo-scare found/footage genre, the fucking godawful "Paranormal Activity" films had to light that shit afire again. Why? Because the Oren Peli-directed film cost (and looks like it cost) about $50 to make and grossed $193 million worldwide thanks to chowder-headed audiences with nothing better to do with their time. You do the math on that awesome profit margin. These films are essentially made for a nickel and pay for themselves about 15 times over -- "Paranormal Activity 2" grossed $177 million. Essentially, the success of "Paranormal Activity" means Paramount will continue to crank these films out endlessly.

Even with a meager $23 million dollar gross so far (and likely not going higher), the $5-millon-dollar budgeted Weinstein/Dimension Company copycat, "Apollo 18," made a healthy profit, so we assume every studio out there must have at least three found-footage scare films in development somewhere. 'Paranormal 2' was budgeted at $3 million and while the third film's budget is undisclosed so far, we can't imagine it's much higher. What's the point? Point the camcorder in the direction of your friends actors and let the magic begin.

This time directed by the "Catfish" bozos, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (cash in now, honey!), "Paranormal Activity 3" will follow the utterly unique plot of a couple who are pursued by an evil spirit in their own home. In an attempt to unveil the mystery, they install cameras throughout the house to capture the strange paranormal activity occurring. Foreheadslap! God, so Paramount is starting the “ Tweet To See It First” contest/campaign and will premiere the picture in the top 20 cities with the most tweets on October 18th, three days before the film’s global release on October 21. Basically, we call this one an interesting anthropological experiment to discover which global cities have the dumbest audiences with the worst taste. Trailer below, FML.

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More: Films, Modern Horror, Paranormal Activity 3

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21 Comments

  • Fred | September 30, 2011 3:49 AMReply

    I've usually found Mr. Davis' pieces to be considerably less incendiary and harsh than this; perhaps he's been catching watercooler flak around the office for not being snarky enough so he let loose on a perceived easy (i.e. mass-audience aimed) target. Oh well, I'm a fan of found-footage horror so I'll just accept my relegation to the ranks of "chowder-headed audiences" and the "dumbest audiences with the worst taste" and will continue to mine this fine site for the Path to True Art in Cinema.

  • Glass | September 29, 2011 9:52 AMReply

    I lost it when the guy in the blazer started smashing his face into the dinner table in front of the couple. Funniest trailer in awhile.

    And what's with each movie adding more and more camera angles to it? I'll believe demons can possess people before I believe a middle-class family in 1988 could buy 15 Hi8 camcorders and set them all up on tripods (and cover their own conversations in multiple angles).

    Now it's like an episode of Big Brother. Let me guess, the parents are in television or something and have access to tons of cameras, right?

  • Kevin Jagernauth | September 29, 2011 6:07 AMReply

    You guys are worse than Twilight fans.

  • Over It | September 29, 2011 5:46 AMReply

    This post is a really lazy attempt at film criticism and plain bad writing. As usual, Edward Davis shows himself to be the most uninformed journalist and the worst writer on this blog. Why is he on Playlist? Ishe someone's nephew? He's consistently an embarrassment. Seriously guys, keep up the standards of the site, pull the plug on this hack.

  • Edward Davis | September 29, 2011 4:57 AMReply

    Schizophrenic? I suppose if you feel that, then you do, but that Catfish piece ran over a year ago and was by another writer, so yeah, I personally don't think its schizophrenic. This also isn't a review, it's just a commentary on the trailer and the whole found-footage genre which sadly just comes from a place of shameless commerce. Yeah, movies are made to make money, but you some of them have some artistic merit too. The PN films are -- in my opinion -- just awful cash grabs for the reasons stated above.

  • Christopher Bell | September 29, 2011 4:53 AMReply

    We've knocked "Catfish" more than we've praised it in this past year. We don't necessarily have to like a movie to interview the cast or crew. Aside from that positive review, if it's ever brought up around here it's more or less disparaged.

    But not to totally act cool, I personally liked it when it came out and found it effectively thrilling... but there's a bad aftertaste, something very morally repulsive about the end product. And that kind of feeling doesn't really settle in right away (say, when you're to write a review of something). Not that I wrote the piece or even claim that the person who did hates it as well, just clarifying some things.

  • rotch | September 29, 2011 3:57 AMReply

    I meant schizophrenic, not paranoid. Sorry.

  • rotch | September 29, 2011 3:54 AMReply

    Edward,

    You clearly state that in the review. But imagine you only posted Drew's positive Margaret review. An then, RP would go on and write a piece about the film's trailer, expressing his dislike, not mildly as he does in his review, but filled with grade A sarcasm. Wouldn't you feel that the blog comes off as slightly paranoid?

  • Edward Davis | September 29, 2011 3:16 AMReply

    Feedback taken. I still don't see the point about inconsistency at all. For example, one writer liked Margaret, another didn't so much. Is that inconsistent?

  • rotch | September 29, 2011 2:45 AMReply

    Hey Edward,

    It was just to point out that if you had anything resembling an editor, he would've pointed out that calling Joost and Schulman 'bozos' isn't really in tune with your blog's general views.

    I understand that each piece was written by a different writer, but such inconsistencies really bring the site down, specially when it comes at the expense of cheap snark.

    And please try to take this as feedback and not trolling.

  • franny faizon | September 29, 2011 2:18 AMReply

    have a little consistency here fellas. Whoever the hell wrote this article needs to be sent packing over to Pajiba or AICN. There's no reason to be this blatantly dick-ish. If you don't want to report on the film, then fucking don't do it. There's enough cynicism out there. You guys are usually way better than this. This might as well have came off some asshole's tumblr page.

  • Edward Davis | September 29, 2011 1:40 AMReply

    Hey Rotch,
    What does kimber's interview with the Catfish guys have to do with my piece?

    Also, if you don't see the correlation between these films and money well... the only reason they're making 12 of these or whatever is because they are low-cost, high return: highly profitable. It's not like they're making them for the art of things, though maybe the Catfish ones pulled out a better version than the 1st two according to Todd's review.

  • rotch | September 29, 2011 1:17 AMReply

    Also: "This time directed by the “Catfish” bozos, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (cash in now, honey!)"

    Man, the reason I was excited to watch Catfish in the first place was because you guys gave it a glowing review http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-catfish-is-intriguing.html

    I guess Joost and Schulman weren't such bozos when they gave you exclusive interviews. http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/09/interview-documentarianstricksters.html

  • rotch | September 29, 2011 1:11 AMReply

    This post wasn't harsh. It was just full of cheap and easy snark.

    I really like the Playlist, but posts like this feel as if they were written by an AICN commenter.

  • zxcvb | September 28, 2011 12:58 PMReply

    Haha, this post was harsh, but justifiably so. It's amazing how timid 99.9% of critics and bloggers are -- people are afraid to have an opinion in public.

    Sometimes a shitty film and/or a hack filmmaker just needs to be called out. I'll take it over the latest encomium to Ed Helms/Sundance poverty porn/mumblecore product.

  • Brandon | September 28, 2011 12:48 PMReply

    I happened to like the first 2 and plan on seeing the 3rd one. I think it's not just that they were doing the whole found footage idea, it's that they did it right. Unlike Blair Witch, it was pretty common knowledge by the time the first one came out that it was actors who made the movie and it wasn't for real. What scared people is the fact that you hear stories about stuff like this happening. This story is just one idea but the way they went about it was genius. It's still escapist, popcorn fun but done with no CGI, effects to speak of, musical score or A (or B) list actors. Yet, it's still more effective than almost any new horror idea to come out in the last 10, maybe even 20 years. Yes, that includes Blair Witch.

  • buntyhoven | September 28, 2011 12:36 PMReply

    This trailer came on before my screening of Drive. Fucking hell, it was annoying. Just lots of LOUD NOISES to irritate. I'd suggest anyone thinking of buying a ticket should just come round to my apartment. I'll turn all the lights off and occasionally make a loud noise. I'll also throw things at you randomly for a truly immersive experience that you just can't get on a 2D screen.

  • Um | September 28, 2011 12:31 PMReply

    God you're such a pretentious douche. You sound like someone on an imdb thread.

  • Scott | September 28, 2011 12:21 PMReply

    It doesn't make you look cool or smart to criticize a movie you have not seen.

  • Greg | September 28, 2011 12:17 PMReply

    Woah, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

  • PlasticMoonRain | September 28, 2011 12:02 PMReply

    Dude:

    Did you have a bad day or something?

    Lighten up. I didn't see either of the first two movies, but there's nothing wrong with a good cheap scare. As a matter of fact, it's a time honored tradition.

    And if it scares the crap out of people and it's fun, then move along, OK? Who cares what it cost to make?

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