Paranormal Activity: The Chronology (Digital Download)
Starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Frederichs (Paranormal Activity), Brian Boland, Molly Ephraim, Sprague Grayden, VIVIS (Paranormal Activity 2), Christopher Nicholas Smith, Lauren Bittner, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3)
Directed by Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Tod "Kip" Williams (Paranormal Activity 2), Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Paranormal Activity 3)
Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment
There's absolutely nothing conventional about the Paranormal Activity franchise. The first film caught lightning in a bottle and became a worldwide phenomenon. The second and the third managed to recapture that same lightning while upping the ante further, thereby turning a standalone indie flick into a stirring and horrifying chronicle of one really screwed up family, filled with rich history and mythos. Now Paramount has taken the unconventional approach to yet another level by editing all three films together in chronological order to create Paranormal Activity: The Chronology exclusively as a digital download.
For those not in the know, Paranormal Activity 3 was a prequel to Paranormal Activity 2, which for the most part was a prequel to the original Paranormal Activity. If you're reading this right now, chances are pretty good that you're a fan and already well acquainted with the story so a plot recap isn't necessary. Instead, let's concentrate on this as a viewing experience.
The first point of interest is, as always, is there anything new? HELL YES. While the original remains pretty much unaltered, new never-before-seen ANYWHERE footage has been added to both Paranormal Activity 2 and Paranormal Activity 3. We're talking stuff that wasn't even featured on the extended and unrated cuts of the movies. Paranormal Activity 3 benefits the most here as some really jarring stuff has been added to help create without question the most frightening cut of the film, even better than the one appearing on the Blu-ray and DVD. One scene in particular involving some nocturnal molestation is especially creepy, and other scenes that were once just "there" now have a spooky payoff that was missing from other cuts of the movie.
But with these additions comes a rather dubious subtraction ... for whatever reason the line about Katie's tapes being missing from the beginning of Paranormal Activity 3 is completely gone. If you remember, this quick scene about the tapes was inserted into the scene from Paranormal Activity 2 in which Kristi and Daniel come home to find their house has has been ransacked. This single line branched PA 2 and PA 3 perfectly. Why it's gone is anyone's guess. An oversight maybe?
In terms of new stuff for Paranormal Activity 2, an exorcism scene between Martine and Kristi has been added to the flick's finale and two other scenes from that particular extended cut (the hot tub and the fire scene) are now absent. Again, curious but not as glaring as the omission of the line from PA 3.
Together all three flicks make up nearly five hours of spooky that are a lot of fun all cut together in order. It's a blast tying all of these strings together into one cohesive piece and really shows how much care was put into the mythology to make sure that everything makes sense. As a fan I know these films up, down, and sideways, and I can honestly say watching the material presented like this is a truly unique experience that we can only hope makes it to disc one day. Don't get me wrong; a digital download is nice, but I like having something physical that I can touch and latch onto.
With Paranormal Activity: The Chronology, Paramount has bestowed upon fans a true gift. The only downside? After several hours everything around you seems to have a tinge of the color paranormal activity blue to it. Imagine sitting through all of the Rocky films in succession. I can almost guarantee that by the time that you're done, you'll be speaking a bit slower and using the word "yo" more than a lot. Coming in at around $25.00, there are a lot of bangs going bump in the night for your bucks.
5 out of 5