'Paranormal Activity 3' Should Be the Last One

When Paranormal Activity first came out, it was one of those viral things that was made for no budget and slowly spiraled into a massive hit. It was truly scary, too. By the time the sequel came out last fall, it was pretty clear we were dealing with a successful franchise. But now with Paranormal Activity 3 expecting to make north of $40 million, it's official: We have a new major horror franchise.

I have high hopes for number 3, but beyond this, they have to stop. They must stop. I was born just as the slasher flick hit its height (the year Halloween made its debut, in fact). The first one is always great, the second sometimes good. But after that, the quality declines rapidly.

Did you see Children of the Corn 666? No? That's because NO ONE did. Because it sucked.

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I completely want to (and will) see Paranormal Activity 3 on opening night. But they can't keep up the chills into four and five. They must stop now.

Obviously, the temptation is always to make more money. But consider this: Who doesn't consider Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street to be jokes by now? But watch the originals and you will see there was a time when the movies were actually scary. Both originals were genuinely frightening. It was only later that they became silly and overdone. 

Sequels do that. It's the reason I worry for the show American Horror Story, which is awesome now, but that kind of suspense is hard to sustain again and again. When a concept is new and bold -- as Paranormal Activity once was -- it's creepy and works well. But by the fourth time, and when it's happened among five other copy-cat films, it becomes pretty mainstream and we all feel like it's been played out.

I would love to see, just once, a filmmaker make the choice to keep the integrity of the vision intact and not try to push toward more cash in hand. Stop at number 3 and I think these movies will be remembered as strong, scary classics.

Do you think they should stop now?

 

Image via Paramount Pictures

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