The latest installment in the found footage horror franchise, Paranormal Activity 3, hits theaters Friday, bringing along with it the kind of heightened suspense and goose bump-inducing thrills that the virally marketed Paranormal Activity (2009) and Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) have made into a Halloween season staple. Critics reviewing the film, which is a prequel to its predecessors, divide into two camps — some praising it for the nail-biting it elicits, others bemoaning it as more of the same.

Critic Owen Gleiberman argued, that in the context of so-called "torture porn" that has become the mainstay of current horror cinema, Paranormal Activity is a welcome relief. “When you consider how the grimy, mangle-fest Saw sequels have ruled the Halloween season in recent years, it's refreshing to think that the spook-show franchise that has now caught the popular imagination has replaced depravity and sadism with a 21st-century, video-reality version of old-school campfire shivers,” he wrote in Entertainment Weekly.

Fine, said Roger Ebert, but haven't we had enough? "Inexplicably, there are people who still haven't had enough of these movies. The first was a nifty novelty. Now the appeal has worn threadbare," Ebert wrote. "Since they already know more or less what will happen and it's lame-brained, why do audiences continue to turn out for new Activities?"

Watch the trailer here:


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