Natasha (Natasha Rinis), a Russian woman, expects to secure a job as model in the United States, and hopes to get a Visa. However, instead, instead she ends up in the hands of human traffickers who drug her and smuggle her into the country. She wakes up chained in the basement of a Texas farmhouse with other trafficked women before being transported to Brooklyn in a van with an Egyptian driver, Sayed (Sayed Badreya).
Director/co-writer Yan Vizinberg builds suspense as Natasha desperately struggles to escape from Sayed’s van. In many ways, the film begins like a horror film as Natasha finds herself treated in such inhuman manners by the traffickers and her driver. Sayed assumes that she had been a prostitute back in Russia, and looks down upon her for that, but throughout their conversations on the road, she tells him that she was a waitress and dancer at a strip club. It’s equally intriguing and captivating to observe the evolving dynamics between Natasha and Sayed as she tries to reach out to his humanity. She even puts things into perspective by asking him what he would do if his wife were in the same situation as her. Will she somehow succeed in persuading him to be kind by gaining her sympathy and helping her to escape from the horrors that she’s going through? That question will keep you at the end of your seat.
It’s also worth mentioning the decent convincingly moving performance by Natsha Rinis and Sayed Badreya who tackle their roles with conviction. Vinzberg should be commended for shedding a light on human trafficking, an important issue that’s taking place right under everyone’s noses to this very day in America and other countries around the world. It would have been more effective and revealing, though, had he shown more of the unflinching and shocking horrors of human trafficking rather than focusing heavily on the drama between Natasha and Sayed.
Paranormal Activity 3
Julie (Lauren Bittner) lives her two young kids, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden), and boyfriend, Dennis (Chris Smith), in a suburban home. Lois, Julie’s mother, visits every now and then. Dennis happens to be a wedding videographer, so when the bumps in the night commence, he sets up cameras throughout the house. He and his colleague, Randy (Dustin Ingram), watch the video recordings in private together to look for any kind of peculiar sights or sounds. They, in a sense, represent the members of the audience who open-mindedly and curiously believe in the supernatural. Julie, on the other hand, represents the viewpoint of skeptic audience members. You might find yourself somewhere between the two ends of that spectrum, but no matter what, you’ll be at the end of your seat eagerly anticipating to get to the bottom of all the mysteries.
Unlike most reviews, this one will not spoil any of the clever twists and surprises to be found here so as to maximize your enjoyment of the movie. The less you read about the plot beforehand, the better. Co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, previously responsible for co-directing Catfish, play around with your imagination to the extent that your mind expects something paranormal to occur at any given moment. Much like in the last two films in the series, the sound effects coupled with the Blair Witch “documentary”-style cinematography will creep you out because you’ll feel like you’re either there experiencing it all with everyone onscreen or observing it. If they’re scared, then so will you be. Even a small sound or a tiny visual detail can be quite creepy for attentive audience members. The acting, fortunately, remains naturalistic throughout, and it’s also worth mentioning that there’s a little comic relief interspersed between the scares so that you’re not overwhelmed with all the intensity.
At a running time of 1 hour and 25 minutes, Paranormal Activity 3 is a palpably terrifying experience that will haunt you for days. It should be watched on the big screen in a crowded movie theater. Bring on number 4!