Review: Paranormal Activity 3

Not foreboding or anything...right?
Not foreboding or anything...right?

It may just be me being in the minority but I may just have been desensitized to the Paranormal Activity formula of conjuring up scares. By all means, the film is still solid and new directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost inject some life into the film by adding a nice new tactic of increasing the tension. The scares are much of the same from the previous two installments, but slightly more aggressive. The scares however do not have any signature moment like the previous two installments. I still will never forget how when I first saw the original film I was shaking while walking to my car to leave the theater due to the dragging scene and the intense ending. I never got that feeling during this film or the second film but this film did manage to make me tense up.

The film begins slightly before Paranormal Activity 2 as we see Daniel Ray, Kristi's husband, painting their new house baby blue for the baby boy on the way. It then cuts forward to the point in the second where Kristi and Daniel suspect looters ran through their house. It adds a scene where Daniel and Kristi go to the basement to check the tapes that Katie recently brought over, but sadly the tapes are missing. The film cuts to static and picks up in September 1988 and follows Katie and Kristi as children living with their mother Julie and her boyfriend Dennis, the wedding videographer. Everything seems good but Dennis notices Kristi talking to an imaginary friend named Toby. A child having an imaginary friend is something very innocent, but this is Paranormal Activity so we not it isn't.


The normal Paranormal Activity formula is then in full effect as it has a slow build but kicks up the tension quickly. The main character Dennis begins to really think something is amiss during a earthquake that he caught on tape. When he and his slacker videographer friend view the tapes they notice something odd, and decide to film the house to find out what the source of the noises are inside the house. The tactic that the new directors come up with is genius for this, he places a camera on a fan as it goes back and forth. It does a great job of increasing the tension, and most of the scenes with it deliver some impressive scares even though you can see them coming. Even more impressive was how little of the film is actually in the trailer. They did this in both previous films but it is still appreciated by at least me as I believe to much is shown in trailers nowadays.

The film is solid, and better than the second but the ending made me leave with more questions than answers. It seems that it was done on purpose to set up an inevitable sequel as this franchise is a gold mine at this point. The advertisement of the final fifteen minutes being quite possibly one of the most disturbing things you could see, is a bit dramatic. The ending was done very well as the directors did the most that they could with what they had, but to me it was a bit predictable.

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 stars out of 5

Closing Comments

Paranormal Activity 3 is the scariest film of the year, but not of the series. In that sense, it is somewhat of a let down to me. The story suffers slightly towards the end but the film benefits from excellent directing and solid performances from the two child actresses. The actress that plays Katie as a child does a fantastic job and is very believable in her bickering with her younger sister Kristi. Christopher Nicholas Smith and Lauren Bittner do a decent job as the parents and its refreshing how the male in the story isn't the one that is completely blind to the paranormal activity taking place.

I'd love to rank the film higher, but the ending truly did disappoint me. The writing could have been a little tighter as well seeing how there are a few holes in the plot that doesn't fit in line with the previous installments. The dialogue at times is also a bit bland, but frankly no one is watching these films for dialogue. The scares are at their best midway through the movie and surely will shock people. This film is deserving of a watch especially if you enjoyed the first two films, and seeing how Halloween is around the corner, you are sure to jump at least a few times during this flick.

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Comments 7 comments

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

You know, you're the second film critic that said that this movie wasn't as scary as the previous installments, but said it was still worth checking out. That's kind of weird. Not in a bad way, but just in a coincidental way. lol. To be honest, i tried to go out to see this movie today, but I couldn't because I was late running errands, but there's always tomorrow. Of course, now I'm a bit curious to see if other critics have said something similar to what you and Jeremy Jahns said about this movie. Hmm..I'll have to look that up.

Anyway, thanks for another great review, and keep up the good work.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Nice review and thanks for doing it so quick...I image you were up pretty late typing away. I have heard about the last 15 minutes....so I am not surprised that it could not live up to that hype. I am once again not surprised that there are more questions than answers...as I sure somebody in Hollywood is writing P4 and P5. Voted up and useful...and the hub is already linked to my 2011 movie hub.


VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Thanks for the review! I had considered seeing it opening night, at midnight, but decided that the previews didn't entice me enough to do so. =] I do, though, plan to see it this coming week. I'm glad to know that P3 isn't as slow in getting to the "good stuff" as the previous two installments. I hope the ending isn't as bad as you & Cogerson make it out to be!! I'll be upset! haha -Voted up!


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

all the advertisements on the final 15 minutes saying how it'll change your life dissapointed me. I wanted the final 15 minutes to scar me for life lol, but it didn't. Like i said though, i think I wasn't that scared throughout the movie because I've grown used to the formula that they have in place. Most of the scares i saw coming, that being said it is still a solid horror film that will make a good deal of money. thanks for the comments Veronica,Stevennix, and Cogerson


AlabamaGirl86 profile image

AlabamaGirl86 5 years ago

It sounds like it good be a good movie to check out next Halloween weekend. Nice review voted up.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

just so everyone knows. it has been confirmed there will be a PA4 coming out this time next year. The writers are already getting to work on it. I'm a sucker for the series so i know ill go see it. I will also more than likely in a week or so do a preview of what direction they could take with the fourth film. I have a couple of theories in mind already


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