‘Paranormal Activity 3′: Will A Found-Footage Format Still Work?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated November 18th, 2010 at 11:43 am,

paranormal activity 3 Paranormal Activity 3: Will A Found Footage Format Still Work?

[Paranormal Activity 3 has been confirmed and a release date set. Go HERE for details.]

[NOTE: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS about Paranormal Activity 1 & 2.]

So Paranormal Activity 2 is a box office hit, and Paramount is already talking about their plans to make Paranormal Activity 3 (surprise).

However, given how Paranormal Activity 2 ended, can the next chapter in the Paranormal Activity franchise still use the found-footage format that has made the series so popular?

Before we get into talking about the next chapter, let’s recap what’s happened so far. For those who haven’t pieced it all together yet, here’s the series of events that have been established by Paranormal Activity 1 & 2:

  • As kids, Katie and her step sister Kristi were tormented by a mysterious paranormal entity. They’ve blocked out a lot of the memories, in forced denial of the supernatural nature of those harrowing events.
  • We eventually learn that this entity is a demon and that a shared ancestor of Katie and Kristi may have made a deal with said demon in exchange for wealth and power – a deal that would require the sacrifice of the first male offspring of the bloodline – i.e., Kristi’s infant son, Hunter.
  • Kristi and her family are haunted and eventually attacked by the demon, who supposedly comes to claim Hunter.
  • Kristi is possessed by the demon and to save her, her husband Dan and step-daughter Ali perform an exorcism of sorts, with help from the family’s hyper-spiritual housekeeper, Martine.
  • The exorcism ritual frees Kristi, but at a steep cost – the demon is not killed, simply transferred to the next member of the bloodline, which is Katie.
  • Katie and her boyfriend Micah are haunted and eventually attacked by the demon that Kristi’s family sent their way. The demon ultimately takes possession of Katie and kills Micah before vanishing into the night.
  • A day after Micah is murdered, the demon (wearing Katie’s body) reappears at her step-sister’s house, looking for revenge. It kills Dan and Kristi, abducts Hunter and disappears with him.

That’s pretty much the mythos that’s been laid out by the Paranormal Activity franchise so far. In both installments, events took place from the point of view of home cameras and/or surveillance cameras setup by the parties being tormented by the demon. Indeed, the whole hook of these movies was the audience’s fear that these kind of supernatural occurrences could – or maybe do – happen in their homes as well.

paranormal activity review Paranormal Activity 3: Will A Found Footage Format Still Work?

However, with the demon seemingly having gotten what it was after, the “found footage” format of Paranormal Activity 3 suddenly becomes a tricky thing to factor.

Here’s what Paramount Executive VP of Distribution Don Harris is saying about the studio’s approach to Paranormal Activity 3: “The company is certainly going to take a look at making a third but will be exceedingly careful in how to go about it.” For those of you who don’t speak Hollywood PR lingo, that basically translates to: “We want to keep making money off this franchise, but we don’t yet know how to do the next one.”

Truthfully speaking, a lot of us were wondering just how they would pull off another home footage format in Paranormal Activity 2. Then, to my pleasant surprise, screenwriters Michael R. Perry, Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst turned the supposed sequel into a story that actually functions as a prequel/midquel/sequel, explaining how and why the events of the first Paranormal Activity actually took place, and expanding that small story into an entire mythos worthy of a franchise. Our official Paranormal Activity 2 review was fairly glowing, and even those who didn’t like it have to admit: there have been far worse sequels to breakout hits (Blair Witch 2, I’m looking at you).

paranormal activity 2 review Paranormal Activity 3: Will A Found Footage Format Still Work?

That all said, the story for Paranormal Activity 3 would presumably cover one of two scenarios:

  • The hunt for the Katie-demon and attempted rescue of Hunter.
  • A flashback to when Katie and Kristi’s family made the deal with the demon and the young girls were first tormented by the demon.

The latter option seems the highly unlikely (though not impossible), so let’s go with the former.

Now, it would be easy to imagine a film where a church organization or some other group specializing in demon killing (who you gonna call?) put together a team to investigate the now multiple murders that have been left behind in the demon’s wake – while documenting the whole event on video, of course. Maybe the group members are a mixed bag of supernatural believers and supernatural skeptics, and maybe their hunt takes them to some truly terrifying places, to face some truly terrifying evil. Maybe the battle for Katie’s soul becomes just as important as saving that poor baby from whatever ungodly fate awaits him at the demon’s hands.

Paranormal Activity 2 teaser Easter Egg 3 Paranormal Activity 3: Will A Found Footage Format Still Work?

Sounds like a reasonably good premise for a movie, right? And it was, back when it was still called The Last Exorcism. But there (beyond my sarcasm) lays my ultimate point: if Paranormal Activity 3 continues as many of us expect it to, in the same format that the series has established, the risk of it coming off as a Last Exorcism or [REC] clone is pretty high. There are only so many ways you gather a group of people, give them a camera and send them off to some strange locale on a demon hunt without the subject matter starting to blend together in movie goers’ minds. The challenge facing Paranormal Activity 3 is how to distinguish itself from the pack while still tying up all the dangling loose ends. It will be interesting to see how they pull it off.

Who knows – maybe a séance at Katie’s house? I’ll bring the Ouija board, you bring the popcorn.

Do you have any ideas about a story and/or format for Paranormal Activity 3? Should they stick with the found footage format or branch off in another direction?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. I actually like the idea of putting Katie’s killings through camera’s that are on the streets, you know the types of camera’s that always catch us going through a red light. I would like to see Ali be around and haunted. Hunter will be who they are trying to save. They won’t end it here, its a cheap money maker and it works because it is cheap. It is a unique scary movie concept that is not gory. I will be going to the theatres to watch the third Paranormal activity

  2. In my opinion, the best bet for the franchise would have to be, making another prequel and go back to their childhood (Katie and Kristi). They still would have cameras back when they were little. Just have the home security system being recorded on a VCR,
    instead of the DVR in the 2nd Paranormal
    Activity. Going to the handy cam version like the Last Exorcism would make the franchise turn into a down fall. Paramount may make a lot of money in theaters but after a few thousand people see it. The consumers will be very disappointed in the Paranormal franchise and spread the news that the movie is in short terms crap.
    In my opinion doing this route would be the better way to keep the franchise successful.

  3. You could DEFINATELY do PA3 as a found footage format :)! Here’s some basic ideas I was thinkin. The producers should check this out lol

    Ok .. Katie is on the run but hell the bodies of Micah, Dan and Kristi were documented as being found which means the San Diego police who got the footage – are ON it. They are all over this triple murder. YEs at the end of both films they say that Katie’s whereabouts are unknown- well yeah of course. But they put out APB and capture her. In her Catatonic state how smart can she be to run by police. Even if it’s to Mexico lol. So they DO capture her. That’s something that can happen in the very beginning.
    Also in the very beginning to back up a bit.. we can start the movie by showing when the daughter of Dan comes home and finds her Dad/stepmom dead and or flashbacks to it as she looks at the footage etc- It goes without saying she’ll be determined to do what she must to find Hunter – so she’s doing her own investigating while the cops do their thing.

    Ok so Cops find and capture Katie. Hunter is returned to the daughter who is a few years older now. With Katie is possessed and all they put her in an asylym and put under 24 hour surveillance. There’s your found footage. PLUS the daughter now glad to have Hunter back but is still very very protective obviously so she uses the existing cams in the same house as in PA2 where she still lives.
    She’s concerned because of 2 possible scenarios which she knows can occur or perhaps they flat out DO occur.
    1. Katie with her being a demon kills guards and escapes and makes her way back to her nieces and former step sisters house for hunter.
    OR 2. Maybe while in jail they bring in that psychic that Katie meant to call but didn’t who specialized in demons and he does an exorcism and Katie is back to normal but now the demon STILL isn’t killed but is at large again as a powerful entity. That entity returns to where hunter is and THERE we have more stuff go on .. perhaps worse than before.

    From here we can somehow lead to a massive climatic ending with a big twist .. niece dies … and HUNTER becomes the new demon being that was ultimately what it wanted. Katie was just a way to get to him. PErhaps she dies or is in jail so she’s out of the way. ANyways .. it’s all bits and pieces. YOu take that and fill in the blanks . Other characters .. like Katies friend from PA1 can be in it. The psychic from PA1 as well can be involved. ANd definately you can have people who find out in the paper who get try to get involved in their own way- doing their own video taping and snooping around – maybe they go to the jail/asylym when Katie is exorcised and film it. Theres lots of stuff you can fill in. Those are the basic ideas ive thought of for now. Whatcha think?

    • I know there’s probably flaws but it’s just a sketch. Having said that after just reading my ideas I think OK the niece/ daughter of the slain parents gets Hunter back after they capture Hunter-perhaps it’s 6 months down the road and when it happens we are fast fowarded to that time. We can somehow even fast foward to when shes 18 or even 21. Katie still in the asylum. Maybe she’s been totally quiet – sorta like Michael Myers… just waiting for a specific moment to try to escape. I guess you just gotta be creative to make it all plausable.

      Either way .. I’m sure the real movie writers are more creative than me and will figure it out and it will be far beyond this and what I typed in my last post..


      • And one more thing for now .. YES indeed you can definately get into Katie and KRistis past. Perhaps again it comes back to the NIECE doing her own investigating by herself or in conjunction with San Diego PD. The only way tho I think found footage could be used with the past is if somehow obviously they find some old home movies lol! NOt impossible – HELL the demon itself kept a photograph in PA1. SO who knows. If nothing else there could be some plot stuff that deals with the past ok Katie/Kristi and their parents/grandparents/great grandparents . who ever it was that made the deal with the devil :)

    • I wouldn’t watch your movie.

    • They already made a paranormal activity 3 its about katies and kristys child hood and the things that happened. the farther you get into the movie series, the more you understand the true story.

  4. i personaly think that in paranormal activity 3
    a new family should move into Kristi’s and it being a new house
    the family dose some renivation to the house making it more homely
    but in the middle of the renivations evil Kati/demon sencing the changes gets annoied and starts reacing havic on the inocent family
    and after certain members of the family start complaining of hearing a baby crying and seeing demented woman(kati)out of the corner of their eye the Parents being extremely religous has a priest(thats completly terrafied of the house) bless the house
    this would really piss off the demon and after attacking one of the family members
    the one of the older kids whos getting a kick out of every thing thats happening has a two bit ghost hunter group
    (thats in way over their head)
    to investigate the house
    the demon would then start attacking members of the ghost hunters crew
    making the family more afraid of the demon
    in turn making the demon stronger
    and basicaly at some point all hell would break lose so probabaly more people would die
    i’d like to see what people think of my idea for the movie
    comments are encouraged

  5. tht would be pretty cool but i strongly disagree is about katie and kristi in the late 80s and the beginning of the haunting it is sadd to be more scary then the other two and i quote oren peli thnk u

  6. Well, now that the trailer for PA3 has been released we all known they went for a “proper” prequel, which makes perfect sense in terms of the home video format. Now I wonder in what direction they will go with PA4 because we all know there *will* be PA4.

  7. Here are a few ideas for PA 3 now that the trailer is out:

    1. Obviously, we can go with the most unlikely option and say that the entire movie will be a prequel that tells about Katie, Kristie, and the relative that brought about the demon. I do believe that this will take up a significant portion of the movie (10-20 mins), but to think that they can turn it into an hour and a half blockbuster is a little far fetched to me. But hey, they surprised me with the first 2 who says they can’t do it again?
    1b. Does anyone else find it curious that Katie and Kristie went through such a traumatic experience and yet they supposedly don’t remember a thing? It would be VERY interesting if the reason why they remembered nothing is because they were possessed by the demon as children. Already waiting to take its revenge upon the family, the girls inadvertently call upon this demon, who proceeds to torment the girls and eventually possess them. The girls kill one of their relatives but soon after lose the possession. The girls remember nothing and the family thinks it best to keep it all under wraps.
    2. Ali, now having no family (that we know of), does the only thing that she can do: she goes to the police. This would work nicely with the whole home camera theme of the first two. As the police chief gives a public statement about the attacks/investigation, a huge team of ghost hunters decide that they’ll go hunt down the demon themselves, bringing their own cameras with them (adding even more home vids to the equation). This is a very intriguing option that could lead to many exciting attacks, as either the possessed Katie or the demon itself wreaks havoc on those who seek it.
    3. Katie, no longer possessed, goes to the police in a frenzy because A. All that happened the past 6+ months and B. Hunter is now missing. The police quickly dismiss the idea and throw her into an insane asylum. The demon then revisits Katie and torments the entire establishment. But since it’s an insane asylum, no one believes the patients. This is the most intriguing option to me considering that asylums are filled with cameras and it adds a whole new dimension to this already intriguing story.
    4. Ali goes to live with family that is related to Kristie and Katie. Katie and Hunter come and wreak havoc on this family in a similar style as PA 2, however this time they have more previous knowledge. This is the lamest option to me because it’s so much like the 2nd, although it would be an easy way to wrap it all up, and it makes more sense in following with the first 2. (My 1st suggestion makes the most sense, but I REFUSE to believe that they gave away the entire plot of the 3rd installment in the 1st released trailer.)
    5. Katie (no longer possessed) notifies someone who she believes can help her(whether it be the police, demon hunters, the Catholic church, etc.) to find baby hunter. They locate the infant, no longer possessed, but the demon does not permit them to leave the area where they find Hunter and he torments them all.
    6. The demon leaves Katie and Hunter relatively quickly with no explanation. Ali decides to live with her aunt in order to protect Hunter. The demon comes and torments the 3 of them like never before, hoping to finally satisfy its appetite for fear before it finally kills off baby Hunter as payment for his ancestor’s deal. This could be pretty freaky but again is a lot like the first two.

  8. I would like to know what that last pic with the baby was from. I don’t remember it from the movie and I’m REALLY curious

    • That picture of kristie nad hunter is in the found footage on the dvd. Ali is in her room and all the lights go out so she gets the camera and light to go and tell her dad and kristie and then hunters door is blocked by the crib once they get in they see that hunter is gone so they look all around the house and outside, they see something in the pool and think its hunter but it’s just a teddy and then kristie hears hunter and then they all run to the front of the house and hunter is outside and the end of the path on the road.

  9. I attended a screening of the movie at paramount pictures this wednesday (9-14)and while I signed some agreement papers saying I wouldn’t say anything about the movie.. or even say that I’ve seen it.. reading all these comments on here is driving me nuts. While I’m not going to give away the ending or much of anything I do want to say that a new feature and a big one they added to the film was an oscillating camera that went from the kitchen to the living room and the demon/ghost has a name. It was the scariest of the 3

  10. I attended a screening of the movie at paramount pictures yesterday i had to sign some agreement papers saying I wouldn’t say anything about the movie, but after i was dne watching i went home watched PA and PA2 and the thrid is the freakiest of them the demon has a name now i wish i could say it but i cant and they give a new look with certin camera i cant wait till oct. 21 when i can talk about it with every one else

  11. 4 will be with ali (guarantee)

  12. if katie and kristy are step sisters, then the demon wouldnt travel down the bloodline, he would travel by family. they would have to be half sisters, i think they do share the same mother

  13. I was wondering if anyone knows what appeared on the monitor in the children’s bedroom towards the end of the movie. That “monitor” wasn’t there in other scenes of that room. A stuffed animal fell off from in front of it and an image appeared and remained on it while the ghost action started to happen. I was just hoping that someone could confirm what they felt appeared on it. Thanks so much…

  14. Maybe pa3 could be set years later with hunter as a teen or a man with With Katie behind bars tormented knowing the hunters still alive in some elaborate breakout to get Hunter to kill him to free its self the entity from the human body but I do believe it should be ended at paranormal activity three and left as a trilogy

  15. Maybe pa3 could be set years later with hunter as a teen or a man with With Katie behind bars tormented knowing that hunters still alive in some elaborate breakout to get Hunter to kill him to free its self the entity from the human body but I do believe it should be ended at paranormal activity three and left as a trilogy