Paranormal Activity 3 has arrived in theaters to a glowing A- review from EW. An A- is impressive for any sequel, let alone a third film in a horror franchise. The last non-vampire horror movie I saw in theaters was Scream 3 in 2000. As a single woman who lives alone, enjoys sleep, has an active imagination and a history of needing to move the VHS copy of The Exorcist to her roommate’s side of the room after watching it in college, I just don’t need to risk it. But again, the latest review intrigued me, and so, in the safety of my office, in midday, with the lights on and the door open, I decided to watch the first film on Netflix. Is it still scary?
2:00: I’m feeling a little cocky. I’m relaxed enough to ID the bottle of wine on the kitchen counter as Yellow Tail.
4:40: The couple, Katie and Micah, hear a strange sound, and immediately, I’m thinking that I’ve heard that same exact noise in my apartment. They think it’s the ice maker. Yeah, let’s go with that, even though my refrigerator is so old I still use ice trays.
6:10: “That’s where we heard its footsteps.” WHAT?!
7:24: Lights go out on Night #1, and I involuntarily whimper.
8:10: There’s creaking and another whimper. The screen fades to black and I notice the life-size Damon Salvatore cardboard standee in my office reflecting on my computer screen as though he’s lurking behind me. Great.
17:50: Micah asks the psychic why they can’t get a Ouija board, find out what this demon wants, and give it to him.”Because what it probably wants is Katie,” the psychic answers. Gulp.
20:40: Night #3. My computer makes the sound to tell me someone’s status has changed on IM, and I jump.
20:50: The bedroom door moves on its own. More whimpering.
22:12: All I have to type at this moment are “her breasts.”
22:40: Katie yells… because of a spider. Not scary at all.
27:00: Night #5. Katie wakes up with a nightmare. I’m doing okay, surprisingly.
31:40: Not anymore. There’s a screech and, to quote my notes, “a giant f—ing thud.” I’m thinking about aborting this blog item. They go downstairs to investigate and I find myself getting angry that they won’t turn on lights.
37:30: Night #15. Katie gets out of bed and stands by the bed for… nearly two hours before walking out. Is she going to fall down the stairs and hurt herself? Finally, Micah awakens and go downstairs to look for her. TURN ON A LIGHT. He finds her sitting outside on a swing in the cold. She’s either really sleep-deprived or possessed by a sleepy demon.
40:42: Micah comes inside to get blankets and there’s a big boom upstairs. TURN ON A LIGHT, JACK—. The TV is now on upstairs with just static. I fake cry at my desk.
44:00: Micah gets a Ouija board. IDIOT.
45:50: Micah and Katie leave and the Ouija board moves itself and catches on fire.
49:42: As they go to bed, my cell phone rings on vibrate on my desk and scares me.
54:40: They wake up to find the powder Micah put down on the floor shows footsteps into the room and down the hall. [CENSORED] I’m sitting here with my hands curled up in fists in front of my mouth. They’re ready to pop open and shield my eyes at any second. Footsteps lead them to a closet, where the ceiling is open to the attic.
57:33: Owen Gleiberman walks by my office, and I’m 99.9 percent sure he sees the way I’m sitting. Luckily, he doesn’t say anything. Micah finds a photo of Katie from when she was young and her family’s house burnt down.
1:00:00: Micah says he’s in control of the situation and making progress. Like Katie, I laugh at him.
1:01:54: The light goes on and off. The bedroom door slams shut. There’s banging on it.
1:03:25: More door slamming as Micah investigates. I’m trying to make my computer screen brighter to no avail. I’m grabbing both sides of my L-shaped desk to brace myself.
1:04:00: I’m thinking they should be leaving this house, even if the demon goes with her. Maybe it’ll take him a little time to find her and they can get some peace. Why does Micah want to go upstairs so badly?
1:06:14: Boom. The picture of them is cracked. Micah wonders why his face is scratched and not hers. Because you’re going to die, Micah! Katie says she can feel something there. She can feel it breathing on her. Her hair moves. CRAAAAAAP.
1:10:10 Night #19. The sheet on the bed moves on its own as though the demon is climbing in next to Katie. My mouth is hanging wide open, which I can see in the reflection in my computer screen.
1:10:33 The light goes on and off. You see a shadow across the bedroom door. I groan.
1:16:30 There’s a shadow across the bedroom door and Katie is pulled out of bed by her leg then dragged into the hallway screaming. It’s a solid minute of torture. I may never sleep again. Even when Katie quiets, I still hear screaming in the office. Chris Nashawaty is watching The House by the Cemetery in his office across the hall. Excellent. This thing bit Katie on the back. Do I have any bruises that look like bite marks?
1:18:39 Micah is finally ready to leave the house and Katie is sitting catatonic on the floor, holding a wooden cross in her hand. It’s making her bleed. BECAUSE SHE’S POSSESSED.
1:20:45 Confirmed. Not Katie tells him she wants to stay in the house. “I think we’ll be okay now,” she says when he leaves the room with an echo (like she’s talking for two) and a creepy smile.
1:21:30 Night #21. She’s up out of bed again. DO NOT come toward the camera, I couldn’t handle it, I write. She walks to Micah’s side of the bed and stands there for nearly 2 hours. She finally walks out of the room.
1:22:55 She starts screaming for Micah at the top of her lungs. There’s the sounds of struggle and then silence. Finally, we hear footsteps.
1:23:55 Micah’s body is hurled at the camera, presumably by Katie, who stands in the doorway with a bloody midsection. I let out a large but scared silent gasp, then laughter, then sit with my mouth wide open. Katie walks the demon’s slow walk, kneels over Micah’s body, then crawls toward the camera. She smiles, then flashes her demon face. The screen fades to black, and I see the reflection of a figure standing behind me and jump. Damn you, Damon!
Am I going to watch Paranormal Activity 2? If I sleep tonight, maybe in the office next week over lunch. I can see how amazing these movies would be to see in theaters with a crowd. Tempting, but I’m not ready for others to hear me whimper. Yet.