So here’s the deal, I am a huge Paranormal Activity fan. I appreciate that the series has become the bane of existence for the hardcore horror fans and that for many it’s further evidence of the infection of sequels that plagues Hollywood but, well, I don’t care. The movies are fun, are scary, and have something of a fireside spook story to them. So, needless to say, when I learned that the movies were being released as ‘one’ movie, edited together so that they ran together chronologically, well, I was all aboard.
My major concern with buying the films this way though, and yeah, you totally have to purchase the file digitally, was how ‘chronological’ the films were. To edit them all together so that they ran as one film meant that you’d have to 1. change the initial vision of the directors (which would just take an ‘okey doke’ from them I’d imagine and 2. it would mean moving some footage around so that the films work cohesively. Going into things I was more than a little worried about my purchase. I mean, who wants to drop a bunch of money on something then have it totally not be what we were hoping? We all do it but it’s one of those things that is hard to not be bitter about.
Wow, I can happily say that my fears were unnecessary. This is indeed the Paranormal Activity played out as one film, seamlessly edited together and telling one story, from beginning to its disturbing conclusion. The Chronoly plays out this way – PA 3, 2, and finally with 1. What the Chronology does here is eliminate the introduction to the third film since it isn’t needed – no need for an introduction to a film at the beginning of the story. Instead we are given the story of how Katie and her sister Kristie were first introduced to the malevolent spirit that plagues them in their adult years. The added footage you get here is all pretty solid, most of it focusing on character building more than on scares but there are a couple good scares onhand as well. As the third film ends though it plays immediately into the opening for the second film and the series from here on presents the theatrical versions of the second and first films with one exception, a brief exorcism scene in the second film performed by Martine, the housekeeper. This is a very brief scene but is a good way to lead into the climax of the film and I honestly don’t remember seeing it before, even in the deleted scenes for film two. The first film plays out as it did in theaters until that is the ending, which deviates a little in that the Chronology ends with the very ending of the second film, which tells what happened to sister Kristie’s family and baby Hunter after they had passed the attention of the demon ‘Toby’ on to sister Katie and her boyfriend. Ending the Chronology this way gives things a very bleak, grim ending that leaves you with a cliffhanger that still has yet to be addressed.
I honestly couldn’t be happier with the way the Chronology was put together and presented. I really wish it would have had the ‘director’s cuts’ of all three films but it is what it is. I will say that seeing all three films this way is a pretty hefty task. It’s a lot of film in one sitting. And the way it plays out it does call into question a lot of logic questions – why do they refer to things in the firs film that seem to be proven as false in the third? Who can say? It doesn’t kill the creepy mood of the films but, well, it is a bit of simple logic that seems to have been neglected as the series progressed.
All in all, I can’t say I’d recommend purchasing Paranormal Activity – Chronology unless you are a hardcore fan. If you are, it’s a great watch. Otherwise, it’s my hope that this will be presented as a rental eventually, or even a double dip so people can purchase a physical version. It’s a great achievment for nerds that is nearly perfect. Close but not quite. It’s awfully fun just the same.
8.5 out of 10
And if you like scares and ghost stories, check my site out and my books – Red Dreams, This Beautiful Darkness, or Noches De Corazones Negros. For more, click the link below.