Paranormal Activity 3 Extended Version

Editors' review

March 10, 2017

Download Paranormal Activity 3 Extended Version

There seems to be two camps complaining about Paranormal Activity 3 for two different reasons. The first reason is a group saying they didn’t find it scary, many times saying they didn’t find the first two scary either. Of course, we could delve into why they would see the third one if they didn’t find the first two scary, but that’s a different matter altogether.

The second camp, however, is complaining because 75+% of the footage from the trailers is not in the finished film. Scenes that include the little girls playing Bloody Mary, the knocking game on the closet door, the jump from the bedroom stairs, the water being thrown, the mother being pulled into the bedroom and a psychic getting beat to hell by the ghostly spirit inhabiting the house.

I’ll admit, I saw one of the trailers and as I watched I was waiting for the moment when Julie (Lauren Bittner) was pulled through the bedroom doors and when the water was thrown on Toby and when those scenes never came I can’t tell you how happy I was. As I noted in my review, “if you think many of the scares have been ruined by the trailers, don’t worry; several of them aren’t even in the film.”

Yes, I see this as a good thing. The studio didn’t sell you on a film different than what you ended up seeing, they sold you on a film exactly like what you would be seeing only you hadn’t seen it yet.

I’ve seen people saying how much better the film would have been with these scenes in there, which is an assumption you cannot make. If the film would have been better with these scenes in there I have to assume they would have been included. The scene with the psychic doesn’t appear it could have even happened given the way the story plays out (not to mention it would have been redundant of the first film) and I thought the Bloody Mary scene was still excellent without the two girls doing it alone.

If you’re wondering why it was done the way it was or how it came about, Bittner was interviewed by The Insider and said:

“This franchise is lucky because it can afford to shoot and edit at the same time. We filmed for quite some time and it becomes a trial-and-error environment. They see what’s working and what isn’t while filming is going on, so a lot of what you saw in the trailer was very good on its own, but within the context of the film, just didn’t fit right.”

Now I’m not saying people don’t have the right to be upset because some of the scenes from the trailer weren’t in the film, hell, that’s what the Internet is for, to complain about how you’ve been wronged in the most petty of ways. However, when it comes to film marketing I will take a trailer that sells what we should expect from a film without spoiling it any day over trailers that spoil key events or even the plot itself.

There was that recent lawsuit over the trailer for Drive with one moviegoer complaining it sold itself as a Fast and the Furious kind of film rather than the slow and methodical throwback feature it is. While I could argue that point all day, my biggest problem with the trailers for Drive is that they spoiled so many memorable moments from the film, even up to the final shots.

I also remember avoiding all of the trailers for The Dark Knight back in 2008 and then going back and watching them after seeing the film. Moments such as the overturning of the semi truck were actually in the trailer and I simply couldn’t believe it. I never would have wanted to see that moment before seeing it on the massive IMAX screen and yet, there it was, spoiled for all the world to see.

When it comes to films such as Paranormal Activity 3, Drive or The Dark Knight you are selling atmosphere and theme as much as spectacle, thrills and scares and as long as the trailers are able to stay true to what an audience is going to get when they sit down to watch a film, I would hope more films would take a cue from Paranormal Activity 3 and save the surprises for the theater rather than spoil the film before we ever purchase our tickets.