While the latest installment of the "Paranormal Activity" franchise, "Paranormal Activity 3," may have topped the U.S. box office over the weekend and opened to rave reviews from horror-lovers everywhere, Christian moviegoers have been taking to the Web to express their concerns with the film's content and are far from thrilled with the message they believe it sends to audiences.
"I have heard so much buzz about this movie and have heard so many stories about people not being able to go to sleep because of it," said one commenter on a forum for Christian mothers.
The commenter added, "I am not planning on ever watching this movie because I don't see how it could be of any benefit to my spiritual life. I'm just greatly disturbed at how popular this movie has gotten... Demons are real and there are people running to the movies to watch that kind of movie. I know plenty of Christians watch scary movies and I don't have a problem with that. I use to love scary movies, but that's something God has changed in me."
The latest film is a prequel to the previous two "Paranormal Activity" movies and takes place 18 years prior to the events of the first two movies. The film, shot in a documentary-like style similar to the 1999 hit "The Blair Witch Project," centers around child sisters Katie and Kristi Rey as they and their parents are terrorized by a demonic force whom Kristi refers to as "Toby." The footage is meant to appear as though it was shot first-hand by the girls' stepfather, who is desperate to catch the supernatural force on film.
This movie, as well as its previous installments, dabbles in occult practices or themes strictly forbidden in the Bible, such as witchcraft, the use of mediums to contact spirits and demonic possession.
"Though the occult forces are clearly evil, they win out in the end, just like the previous Paranormal Activity movies," wrote a reviewer for the website Movieguide.org. "Also, the little girls and other characters play around with the dangers of the occult. This is more than disturbing and depressing, it's just plain wrong and can lead to evil occult practices in real life. Media-wise families will make sure their families stay away from the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies, including this third one."
Other Christians have expressed similar attitudes.
"I always liked those types of movies as a teen; now as a Christian I've done a lot with spiritual warfare and take demons very seriously," posted one user on the forum. "I thought the movie looked 'interesting.' But after reading a bit more about it, I can't see myself going to be entertained by a topic that I have worked hard to keep out of my house."
"Paranormal Activity 3" has grossed $52.1 million in its first weekend at theaters, a record for any horror film. This third installment beat out the record set by its predecessor last year, which grossed $40.7 million in its opening weekend.
The movie's official Facebook page has more than 8,000,000 "likes."