Austin Texas tweeters helped win the city an advance screening of the upcoming third installment of the hand-held camcorder “found-footage” horror movie.
Paranormal Activity 3 is set to drop in theaters October 21st, but specially-selected theaters got to watch the film on October 19th thanks to Paramount’s “Tweet to See It First” contest. Austin wasn’t the only lucky winners of this contest, but also places like Tel Aviv, Israel, and Melbourne, Australia. We did have the opportunity to see it during Fantastic Fest but according to the studio this was an unfinished version and this showing tonight was the final cut.
The line to get in to the theater was long; I’m talking a city-block-long sea of hopefuls, clutching a white paper print out of their email confirmation. For a movie that was showing at 10:00 PM, according to one of the Alamo Drafthouse employees, people started getting in line as early as 6:00 PM. Now that’s dedication for a free screening and some of Alamo’s draft beer and gourmet food.
Directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost (Catfish) have done it again and got me with their style of jump scare scenarios and things-that-appear-in-the-scene-right-before-your-eyes tactics; a lot like watching Jamie lee Curtis, who is is calmly sitting after killing her brother Michael Myers, and you gasp as he sits up behind her. Your internal fright alarm gets set off and you get that feeling like, “Oh dam, just look behind you!” I felt my eyes scanning the screen at all times, trying to find subtle changes or paranormal anomalies.
Paranormal Activity 3 begins with the two sisters at Kristi’s house as Katie brings over a box of videotapes from their youth and they just store them in Kristie’s storage room that is ransacked in Paranormal Activity 2, the only thing stolen is a box of video tapes. The same ones that are shown for this installment of paranormal activities. This version has built more of a back story of why the sisters are the way they are and what happens to them growing up.
But why does all this found footage even exist? The story is set in 1988 and the girls’ mom Lauren happens to be dating wedding videographer Dennis, and after an earthquake he decides to put up a couple cameras around the home and records one of many paranormal events. He records a little more then he wanted to. His genius lies in the creation of the rotating fan cam, so he can scan two rooms at once with the video camera mounted on top. Meanwhile his wife complains, “Did you really take apart my fan?”
Things really start moving when they hire a babysitter to watch the children while they go out for the evening. After the babysitter scene, things go from scary to downright frightening, and you can only sit back and watch the family’s horror play out on screen. This entity, although it appears friendly at first, turns hostile after playing “Bloody Mary” in the bathroom mirror with Dennis’ coworker Randy and young Kristi. This quickly turns into a truly frightening scene that made me jump more then once.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the family soon realizes they are living with something scary; even the non-believer Lauren is convinced and decides to leave. The family has taken the scare on the road, so to speak, as they leave for safer, less unholy grounds. But I’ve already said too much.
The original Paranormal Activity was made for a mere $15,000 then sold to Paramount for $350,000, and ended up grossing $100 million domestically at the box office. Then Paranormal Activity 2 grossed $40 million in its first weekend, and was touted as the highest opening ever for a horror film. I can only imagine, by the size of the crowd that stood in line for hours to see it first here in Austin, Texas, and around the world, that Paranormal Activity 3 will blow the theatre doors clean off and be the box office record breaker this coming weekend.
Did I mention Paramount gave us free t-shirts for our tweeting efforts? I tucked it away in my dresser when I got home, but I still stayed up all night listening for things that go bump. I was still creeped out until the wee hours of the morning.