Review: Paranormal Activity 3

The now Annual offering of ‘Paranormal Activity’ chills comes in this third part of the home movie fright fest, which tells the prequel story of the early demon bothering’s of sisters Katie and Kristi from parts one and two.

You never had an imaginary friend like this…

Set in 1988, Step Dad Dennis (a wedding cameraman – convenient…) begins to film the strange happens on VHS, when youngest sister Katie befriends the invisible entity ‘Toby’. ‘Toby’ is anything but the normal imaginary friend.

As always, stationary cameras capture each night’s happenings, slowly building tension to episodes of the usual demonic pestering. It’s a nice touch when Dennis decides to mount a camera on mom Julie’s best fan, providing a new full panoramic view of movements in the night, oscillating with regularity across the ground floor of the haunted family home. It is this shot that now brings the greatest tension as we are constantly given potential reveals as we fan across the view. A clever play with a ‘white sheet’ chills significantly.

Paranormal Activity 3, as you would expect with a sequel, doesn’t really add to or do anything new with the series, only really re-treading over familiar ground, but it still manages to unnerve significantly as we wait for horrifying things to happen.

But some of the films intended scariest episodes fail to have the same impact of parts one and two, leaving PA3 to be the weakest and least terrifying of the series. What should have been the films scariest moment, a mirrored game of ‘Bloody Mary’ somehow becomes humorous due to teenager Randy’s ‘girly’ shrieks and false machismo.

A vague, clumsy finale does nothing more than just confuse proceedings and detracts somewhat from the mystery and sheer malevolence of the demonic occurrences of the classic first episode, by trying to offer some kind of explanation to it all. The terror created by the first Movie was due to the simple element of unknowing, and that bargaining with or escaping from something so evil was not an option. The unseen demon moved from almost playful teasing, escalating to full blown horrific terrifying violence. This made part one a truly frightening, uncomfortable experience.

Paranormal Activity 3 is nowhere near as good as, or a as terrifying as parts one or two, which I don’t mind admitting scared the be-geezers out of me, but it still provides plenty of spine chilling moments that the series has become renowned for. Sadly, the formula is now becoming a little tiresome; there are only so many ways things can “go bump in the night!” – Right?

6.5/10 still worth a look though, turn the lights down for extra chills!

Paranormal Activity 3 is out now on Blu-ray and DVD

10 responses to “Review: Paranormal Activity 3

    • I think they’re great but they have run their course now, PA1 is one of the scariest films I ever saw and I don’t mind saying

  1. Excellent review! I have seen all 3 of the films, and yes I agree that the ending seemed to be completely irrelevant. However I must confess that I found this MORE entertaining than the first two put together. In my opinion the “scares” were more scary and the kids’ acting was spectacular compared to the frankly mediocre performances in the first two. The scripting was better for the most part in my opinion, but hey I guess opinions are made to be argued with 😉

    • Perhaps with now three films in PA isn’t the fright it once was for me which always happens with sagas, they all have their moments, and in 3 when the babysitter is pushed/ blown is chilling. The first one was genuinely chilling and impactful as it was the first I guess.

    • noted IPC. admittedly it probably suffers from that syndrome that its neatest tricks had been used in the prior films, so its impact would not be as great or surprising as the first, which is a hard thing for any film to get round. I love the PA films, I just think PA1 is one of the scariest movies i have ever seen and it was new. all the sequels have still managed to do a little new, panoramic cameras in 3, the xbox kinect in 4.

      • I was kind of let down by 4 – I think because I liked 3 so much – but I still dig this series and will keep coming back!!

      • me too, if it can do that, then it’s still doing something right. It’s just still got it for me and it’s the only real current horror franchise out there now, that comes to mind at least.

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