Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

paranormal activity 3 poster 2011 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fan cam, good kid actors

Still under developed

Movie Info

Movie Name: Paranormal Activity 3

Studio: Blumhouse Productions

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): October 21, 2011

MPAA Rating: R

paranormal activity 3 bloody mary dustin ingram

Yes…Bloody Mary seems like a great, fun idea at this point in the movie…

When Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) inherit tapes from their grandmother, they think nothing of it, nor does it surprise them when the VHS tapes are the only things that disappear during an apparent robbery. What was hidden on the tapes would have shocked them and possibly could have saved their lives. The tapes are home videos made by their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend Dennis (Chris Smith) when strange events started to occur when they were young, and what they could mean to events occurring now.

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, Paranormal Activity 3 is a prequel to both Paranormal Activity of 2007 and Paranormal Activity 2 of 2010. The movie found footage film like the other Paranormal Activity movies received average reviews but was a big financial hit at the theaters.

The first Paranormal Activity wasn’t very good in my opinion.  The second Paranormal Activity had similar problems but did improve on the format slightly.  This Paranormal Activity gets the closest to being right with some interesting technological decisions and a story that was more compelling but still falls into the same problems of the first two films.

paranormal activity 3 fan cam ghost demon sheet

Ok, the horrible evil demon A) has a sense of humor or B) is actually just Casper the Friendly Ghost

Prequels always set-up the “why didn’t you remember line”, but the movie reconned the events by putting a line in that Kristi and Katie would “forget” events.  That being the case it is quite funny that in Paranormal Activity 2 they didn’t say “hey, that necklace is missing…oh and that giant box of tapes you guys inherited disappeared”. I don’t even know why they did the tape scene at the beginning of this film other than a way to get the original cast back.

The idea of backstory to the first two movies (which take place in the 2005-2006) is an interesting one, and the filmmakers do a reasonably decent job setting it in 1988 without making horrible continuity errors by keeping it simple visually (I particularly liked the Teddy Ruxpin). While this is done well, it also works against the realism of the movie.  In 1988, camcorders were pretty heavy (as even state in the movie), they could run six hour tapes, the quality wasn’t the best, you have to put your eye to the viewfinder, and there was no night-vision shooting. This makes the idea of Dennis casually taking the camera to go shoot stuff when he hears a bump in the night kind of unlikely. Yes, his job is to do wedding videos, etc., but just walking around when you hear a sound or near the end when all hell is breaking loose, just doesn’t make sense to carry a giant camera around. In fact the red light could make you more of a target in the dark. The 6 hour tape issue is addressed, but that doesn’t make it realistic.  The “fan-cam” however is genius!

paranormal activity 3 ending grandmother

You’re flexible

The basic problem with Paranormal Activity movies still exist. There is no ghost or monster to really see. I want a demon…someone rushing the camera in the last scene really isn’t cutting it.  Any real evidence the characters always refuse to look at or just miss watching the tape (like the Bloody Mary scene…why the hell wouldn’t the friend Randy played by Dustin Ingram just tell him to watch the tape (or likewise with the hair pulling scene).  Paranormal Activity 3 does have jumps but they are easy jumps. It just isn’t a great story.  I will say the two children actors do a really nice job and are quite believable.  I give them an A for effort, but by this point I really, really, really want more. The stories seem to be improving a bit, the acting remains stagnant and likewise the visuals. I keep being drawn back to the films, hoping for more, but they have yet to really deliver.  Paranormal Activity 3 is followed by Paranormal Activity 4 in 2012.

Related Links:

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Paranormal Activity:  The Marked Ones (2014)

Paranormal Activity:  The Ghost Dimension (2015)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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