Other major critics have made similar comments. In comment sections on reviews and other sites, Average Joes have also said the ending didn't explain enough.
That's like watching the third Harry Potter and saying it's stupid because we still don't know everything there is to know about Voldomort.
It's like watching the first Lord of the Rings and complaining Frodo doesn't destroy the ring.
It'd be like if the Star Wars movies were being released for the first time ever, 1-6, and at the end of the third one, Revenge of the Sith, people were saying "it sucked because we don't know what happens to Anakin's kids: Luke and Leia. HOW CAN IT END WITHOUT TELLING US EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW!?!?!"
Directors: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
Little girls, Katie and Kristi: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown
Camera Crazy Step-Father, Daniel: Christopher Nicholas Smith
Mother, Julie: Lauren Bittner
Comedic Relief: Dustin Ingram
If Paranormal Activity 3 were a TV show, it'd be an episode of Lost. Lost killed us episode by episode, week to week, season to season, for almost 6 years, by always providing us more questions than answers.
A movie FRANCHISE does the same thing, and what happens? Seemingly intelligent people whine.
So, here, I'm drawing a line in the sand.
On my side of the line: people that recognize that if a movie has the number "3" in the title because there have been two previous films in the series, and each film has revealed more about the overall story, and this third movie DOES NOT CONCLUDE the series, it's safe to assume that there will be subsequent entries that will resolve the questions generated in this third film.
On the other side of the line: people that say things like Newark Star-Ledger's Stephen Whitty: "the final twist doesn’t make much sense in the context of the film, let alone the entire series."
Here's a free piece of knowledge, Stephen: the series isn't over. And it makes sense in the context of the film if you recall the speech Dennis gives Julie after the Bloody Mary incident (about the witch coven).
We are use to films being single-serving. The story starts and ends. We get all the answers we want. Groundhog Day is like this. Unforgiven. A Knight's Tale. The Hurt Locker. The Hangover. Goodfellas. Almost Famous. 90% (I made that up) of movies are one-and-done. It's only recently, with the advent of the franchise, that we're starting to see storytelling across multiple films. Most franchises are like Harry Potter: individual plots that tie together into a total story, like the books that make up a trilogy.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have franchises where the individual movies stand alone. Examples: The Iron Man franchise, Nolan's Batman movies, the Jurassic Park movies, Aliens, Bloodsports, Lethal Weapons.
Pirates of the Caribbeans is odd because the first movie stands alone and the second and third movies are dependent on one another.
Instead of thinking about Paranormal Activity 3 as a single film, look at it as the Paranormal franchise's equivalent toT The Empire Strikes Back, where the end of the movie concludes nothing and we're left wondering WTF.
The Paranormal Activity franchise is mimicking the chapters of a book, the keep-em-hooked motto of Soap Operas that Lost adapted so well and George Lucas used to make The Empire Strikes Back one of the most shocking movies of all time. It is churning out a story serially, in installments. So stop looking at it as three unique plots, and start framing it as one story that's been chopped up into sections. You don't eat steak in one bite. Recognize what is going on and shut up so you stop sounding like an idiot.
(Note: I'm not saying PA3, as a film, is as good as or comparative to Empire--that's a different argument. I am defending PA3's decision to not explain everything. We can debate the effectiveness of execution later--I'm not getting into that either. All I'm saying is that people are dumb if they think this movie isn't allowed to continue building curiosity, and if they fail to view it in the proper context: as the latest part of an unfinished tale.
Did I Like It:
Yes. I enjoyed myself. I liked the characters. I thought the scary moments were creepy and fun. I thought the tension grew well as Toby--who is a dick--demonstrated quite the sarcastic personality in his methodology of coercing Kristi, bullying Katie, and entertaining himself at the expense of the four adults. Don't forget that this is a demon that does, since we have to believe Kristi can see him, indulge in tea parties for no other reason than it has nothing else to do for most of the day. That's hilarious to me.
Critics keep mentioning the swivel camera on the fan. I hated it because it was really effective and freaked me out. I think it's one of the iconic scenes of the year.
I like the acting. I like the natural tone of the conversation and actions. It's a nice change of pace from Hollywood Dialogue and Dramatic Dialogue. Some people find it boring. I find it interesting.
I don't think found footage is dead. With that said, I do hope the next PA doesn't use found footage. I hope they do something like Lost changing to flash-forwards. I like the idea of going with a regular filming style, or splicing two story lines: one that is found footage and one that isn't.
I want to see found footage in other genres. Action. Western. Drama. Fantasy. Musical. Indie. Comedy.
I thought the end was fucking awesome. Especially if you're viewing the film with Toby as the central character. His arc is great.
What It's Good For:
-people that liked the first two
-if you haven't watched the franchise before, I think you're fine jumping in here
-anyone who likes to be scared and scares easily
-a date movie
-if you liked Blair Witch but if you liked BW you've probably always watched PA.
-if you love hardcore slasher movies and bore easily, this probably isn't a movie for you
-if you want a lot of dramatic tension and melodrama and flare, this probably isn't a movie for you
-if you want everything explained to you and wrapped up with a a nice little bow, this isn't the movie for you
% Character / % Actor's personality
Smith: 90/10 (?? I've never seen him before, but I believed he believed he was his character.)
Bittner: 90/10 (?? same thing.)
If I saw both in other roles, I might change this score. As is, I think they both did well.
-Lost: JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Matthew Fox
-The Empire Strikes Back: George Lucas, Harrison Ford
-Found footage films: The Blair Witch Project; Cloverfield; The Troll Hunter; [REC]