Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

October 20, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The Paranormal Activity trilogy has been successful because of its effective way of building up tension in the silent moments where our imagination will be run by our fear of the unknown. In Paranormal Activity 3, the formula that works so well is kept fresh and the outcome still produces a genuine eeriness. This time around the directors are Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, the duo that gave us Catfish. This film is a prequel to the first two installments, taking place in 1988, when Katie and Kristi are children.

There are many tension building moments from the first two films, but this one takes it up a notch, and plays with the audience, almost like a horror house walk-through. There are body contortions, levitating objects, disappearing figures and much more that come from a bag of tricks that still work. Even when the film doesn’t use any tricks, the voyeuristic filming approach builds up the anxiety very well. A single rotating camera, moving left to right to monitor a particular area, is very simple and creepily effective. This film also deepens the history of Katie and Kristi, and reveals the roots of their demonic troubles.

The cast as a whole is very convincing, especially the two children that play Katie and Kristi at a younger age: Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown. Their screams are authentic and the look of fear and insanity they develop are bone-chilling. The supporting cast also do a fantastic job, and add some fun, humorous moments in the midst of all the horror, especially Randy, played by Dustin Ingram.

Overall, Paranormal Activity 3 is more of the same, but it does do the trick very well for someone looking for temporary scares and those that are curious of how it all started. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser, and you’ll most likely have fun being scared watching the flick, but it allows you to go on with your night without lingering in your mind.

Potential Drawbacks:

Many may be irked about how the film footage is supposed to be from 1988; however, it looks more like it was shot in HD (which it probably was). This film is better than the sequel, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before from the first two installments. We know what to expect, and we know all the ticks of the formula, but it still manages to be scary at times.

Some may find the “jump scares” in this flick a bit intrusive, and sometimes forced. For example–Dennis, the main male figure in the movie, decides to quickly run through a door for no apparent reason. At the same time, many find the jump scares a fun tease.

The demonic creature that lurks around the film is a creature we’re familiar with now, and it makes the film more fun to watch, but also takes away from the mystery. The whole unknown, “found-film” edge the first film had is obviously gone, and there’s nothing there to replace it.

Film Recommendations:

Blair Witch Project
Paranormal Activity

Constructive debates are welcome, but personal attacks are not. If you feel a comment is offensive or considered spam, please feel free to flag it.

Latest Reviews

  • Lock starring Tom Hardy
  • Locke

    One of the best places to have time to yourself and really think about your life is in your car;...

    Read Review >>
  • Expendables 3 Once again, Sylvester Stallone and company are back to spill blood and yell out manly things. Expendables 3 continues the old school action of the...
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back in the 90s, the turtles in a half shell hit the big screen with three live action movies that were ridiculously fun to watch for kids. Michael...
  • Guardians of the Galaxy We've ventured off into space before, but we've never done it with such a likable bunch as Star Lord, Groot, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket. James Gunn's...
  • See more reviews »