Halloween Horror Movie Month: Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

This family should just stop filming anything.

A malign and murderous spirit continues to dwell within a San Diego home. Hoping to catch photo evidence of Bloody Mary, the residents soon become victims in their own horror film.

The ‘Paranormal Activity‘ series has been going on for 3 years now, with each one coming out on Halloween and not really ever disappointing. It’s sort of like a Halloween tradition and once they stop churning these films out every year, were going to have films like ‘The Last Exorcism‘ coming back for more and more sequels. NOOOOOO!

When the plans for this sequel/prequel were already announced, and the main people behind this film would be Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who did ‘Catfish‘, I was kind of skeptical but also intrigued by what they could bring to the table. Their first feature was a big-time play on the audience as to what we thought was real and fake, and I think the choice of these guys was a great idea because they actually do bring a lot more.

The scares start out the same, with little things happening here and there, until one night where they have a baby-sitter come over and it just takes everything to the next level. This is exactly what I wanted this film to be because so much crazy shit happens that when it was all over, I just looked at my friends and all of the other people around me, and everybody was just practically dumb-founded and shocked by what we were seeing up on the screen. Almost every single scene leading up to the big scare has this great deal of tension that honestly had my knees shaking at a 100 mph and my fingers covering my ears. It’s some pretty freaky stuff as usual but there’s also things here that are a lot more cool looking than I actually expected.

Another reason this film works is because there’s also a lot more danger with this film. Whenever you have little kids in horror films, it’s always scary but this time these kids are in complete and utter danger with me actually not being able to watch at points because it was getting so tense. I think the directors eff with us enough to the point of where we know what’s going to happen next, but instead play with us and give us something else totally unexpectedly cool that they end up doing what the ghost is doing to this family: toying with them. Bastards!

I also have to give a lot of props to this film for making these trailers that were totally nothing like the film at all. When I saw the numerous trailers for this film I felt like I knew all the scenes going in, but when I got there probably about 1 and a half of the scenes that were in the trailer, were actually in the film, so therefore the scares were totally shocking and this is how you should always advertise your horror films no matter what.

My only problem with this film is that I do feel like they should have explained what in the hell happened to the dad after all. I thought it was a little strange how they never explained what exactly happened to the daddy of these girls and why this chick was just left with them after all. Was the dad killed too? Did he leave? Was it a divorce? I don’t know but then again, I smell sequel…..or prequel….or whatever the hell you wanna call it…

The characters in this film aren’t perfectly rounded out but we do care for them, especially the stepfather Dennis. This guy isn’t a real douche bag like all of the other males in these films have been and instead he actually acts like a regular human-being, rather than how a horror cliche actually would. He’s also very funny and very proactive like any person would be in something as crazy and creepy as this and that’s probably why I liked him a bit more than Micah.

I still think that the series has another film in its system somewhere before its totally past-death but to be truly honest I had so much fun here, probably more fun I had with this than I did with the 2nd one. The film should probably end on a note that answers all the questions that it brought up so very very much here and in the 2nd one, and hopefully will keep on scaring the ish out of me as well.

Consensus: Paranormal Activity 3 is basically the same film as every single other one that came before it, with a lot more insane scares, questions brought up, and more tension than ever before thanks to the new directors on-hand.

9/10=Full Pricee!!


  1. “This family should stop filming anything.” LMAO… well said.
    What has me pondering is where’s the house fire we’ve all heard about? I was expecting that. And which way does the next Paranormal Activity film go? Continue backwards, or move forward, as those who have seen the film know what I’m referring to.
    Well said movie review Dan…

      • Yeah, I think the house fire is going to be the fourth one, and that’s when the dad is going to come into play. Given the amount of money they made with this one, they’re probably going to be doing a fourth one no matter what. Seems like as good an idea as anything.

  2. Maybe the mother was brainwashed too and the kids are demon spawn. Just sayin. You might like to check out Paranormal Activity 2 Tokyo Nights. You can probably find it on youtube. It’s a Japanese tie-in film to the series with some legitimate scares.

  3. Great review. I agree that there certainly wasn’t anything ground breaking going on. If contentment can come with a large movie theater popcorn, then I was able to enjoy this as just another Halloween season scarefest.

    Please no PA4. Please.

  4. It was waaaay better than 2, that’s for sure.

    To me, the big issue is all the scares have mainly gone because we’ve seen the “gimmick” before.

    So I can’t say that I was scared, but I WAS entertained.

  5. JUST AN AWESOME FREAK SHOW ALL OVER!!!! I was choked at the movies by my friend who was scared out of his mind…I thought I was gonna die in the movie wear people are dying! 9/10 FOR SURE!

  6. Hmm, well I have to say I disagree with most of what you’ve said. Primarily though would be that the kids being in danger made it more frightening. I was never once frightened for the girls for 1 important reason. This is a prequel, and we know they’ll be OK because of the 2 other movies. I was highly disappointed by the lack of the house fire, and some of the “scares” that we’ve seen in the previous 2 films just weren’t scary simply because I’ve seen them before.

    While I will agree it’s cool that they trailer doesn’t end up spoiling anything in the film because it’s so entirely different, it’s different to the point that it not only shows essentially an entirely different movie, but a *better* movie imo.

    When you said you looked at your friends at the end and you were all stunned by what you had seen, the same thing happened to me. But when my friends and I looked at each other, it was with the look of “That’s it?” We were all disappointed by the film.

    Even though we disagree, it’s a good review nevertheless.

    • Thanks! There’s a lot of things some people will like and won’t like and I can’t say that I was disappointed but I more or less just had a great time and got scared when this film wanted me to. Nice points though Jim!

  7. While I didn’t enjoy the film as much as you did I agree that it was an improvement over the previous installment. I think there will be two more films released before it’s all said and done.

  8. First, thanks for stopping by and reading me review. This is a great review as well. Love your opening statement. I agree with how you described Dennis. He wasn’t like the other males. With how much money it just made, say hello to part 4. Maybe what happened to the father will finally get explained. Definitely glad I’m not dating/married to them!

  9. Ya know, if they keep making enough money, I’m sure we’ll get to “Paranormal Activity 20: Todd vs. Jason.” Heck, might as well bring in the “Winchester Brothers” for their big first-time silver screen appearance!

  10. I agree with you abut the tension levels being heightened in PA3 than in the other movies. I think credit for that goes to the directors. While I thought Catfish as a film was horrible I did recognize the craftsmanship of Joost and Schulman’s directing.
    And thanks for stopping by and commenting on my review.

  11. Totally agree that the people in this family need to put the damn video cameras down already! You and I feel the same way about this movie and I really liked how they ratcheted things up toward the end. Might as well go for broke! Great review.

    • Everything just kept on building up and up and up the whole time until it was said and done with. Thanks Hunter! Pop on by whenever you’d like.

  12. Really liked the review mate, thought you really pointed out the best and slightly questionable aspects of the film. Definitely agree with your point about the adverts as well, why do so many movies seem to show important points of the film to an audience before they see the feature, makes no sense, but like you say they got it perfect. Great review, Ill be sure to check out more of your work!

  13. enjoyed your review, the rating is a little high but its great to see somebody else who loves film and has respect for these movies. Paranormal Activity was number 10 on my best of 2009 and I have enjoyed 2 and 3 but most of all they scare the shit out of me. Here’s hoping 4 is in the works soon!

  14. Good review, I never thought about the girls actual father! I’m sure that was left open in case they wanted to explore a 4th movie that ties into that point somehow

  15. I wrote a comment last week but it didn’t post – I must’ve switched the page before it posted! Sorries!

    I really like your review, concise, but it explains everything you need to know about the film without giving away too many details. I agree with you though, this one was better than the second, and I loved Dennis in this film. It’s nice having a male character not be a moron who’s annoying in the PA series!

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