Paranormal Activity 3


You’ve been framed – again

Paranormal Activity 3 review

This camcorder-horror series has a pedigree almost as strange as its central premise: the life-long haunting of sisters Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden).

Part one scared Steven Spielberg so much he wrapped his copy in a bin bag to keep the evil inside. Part two played out concurrently, with various cast crossovers, neatly streamlining the concept. This origins-exploring threequel, meanwhile, was made by the “documentarians” behind Catfish, who have more than a passing acquaintance with the tricksy truth/fiction divide.

Rewinding back to 1988, the film recounts the childhood traumas of young Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown). Kristi has an imaginary friend (uh-oh), while mum Julie (Lauren Bittner) and stepdad Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) hear noises in the night.

A wedding cameraman by trade, Dennis decides to document what happens next on (suspiciously nice-looking) VHS cameras. He mounts one of these on a fan so it pans across the room, revealing and concealing with robotic regularity.

It’s a great little gimmick, capturing that corner-of-the-eye sensation of being watched, and the film is the best-shot – if the least scary – of the series.

Although there’s a sense of (wholly appropriate) déjà-vu, watching people sleep waiting for something unspeakable to happen remains an unnerving experience. Let alone watching people watching people sleep.

Retrofitted in this way, with the girls’ stepdad as obsessive a documentarian as their future partners, you sometimes get the feeling that it’s the camera, rather than anything supernatural, that’s really haunting them.

Dennis means well (and he’s far less irritating than part one’s Micah), but besides a couple of blood-freezing spook sequences and an ill-fitting ending, he’s still a man spying on his own family.

Whether cameraman or chimera, isn’t it time everyone left these poor girls in peace?

Film Details

User Reviews

    • LukeSween

      Oct 27th 2011, 11:28

      Part 1 - 5 star, part 2 - 4 star, part 3 - 3 star. Lets hope part 4 won't follow the trend although I'd not be at all surprised.

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    • trist808

      Oct 27th 2011, 13:58

      I disagree, I think this one is the best / strongest one out of them so far. Denis is the most likeable male out of all three leads, certainly no where near as annoying as Micah or Kristi's husband in number 2. And there are several un-nerving moments in the film which are far superior to parts 1 & 2 IMO. The one I feel sorry for though is Randy, the bathroom sequence is great. And the oscilating fan/camera is a genius new touch to the standard format. Plus I do like the ending, it paves the way for parts 4, 5 ... however many they want to make. There's a 20 year gap between the end of PA3 and the beginning of PA2 ... what happened to the girls in those interveining years? I'd like to know and I would welcome a fourth installment. Except the inevitable, it WILL happen come next October and I'll happily watch it :)

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    • hago1

      Oct 27th 2011, 18:50

      Why are you using the same photo still from the review of PA2??

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      Oct 30th 2011, 12:08


      I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The format is getting a little tired but it was still good fun. The fan-panning camera was a great little addition; especially with the little blokey under the sheet. I'd like to say they had explored this story enough to leave the franchise well alone now. However, after what I believe is the highest grossing opening weekend ever (for a horror) we all know that's not going to happen. One thing we can be quite happy about when waiting for the pt4 is; there is still an intriguing little part of the story to be told. I think i'm right in saying that there's the small matter of the girls house burning down when they were kids. Was this a ghoulish occurrence or did someone just fall asleep with a f*g in their hand? I guess we'll find out next Halloween.

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      Oct 30th 2011, 12:09

      That was meant to be a 3 star rating.

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    • BobbyTwoTimes

      Nov 4th 2011, 10:00


      I knew what to expect and it did it's job. I enjoyed it to be fair. Little disappointed that they didn't just wrap it up here though. Could've finished off the story about the girls in this film and left it as a trilogy. Now it's just gonna keep going and going like the Jason, Freddies, Saw's, etc....

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    • barneystinson

      Nov 7th 2011, 10:36

      another excellent addition to the PA canon with further exploration of the intriguing mythology. Genuine scares and an ending that leaves more questions than answers. One thing bothers me though. The film starts during PA2 with Kristi's husband telling us the tapes have gone missing from the house. So who the hell is showing us the footage now then? Toby.....? Katie....? I need answers!

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    • Igrayne

      Nov 27th 2011, 19:47

      What the f**k is wrong with you people I feel like I am taking crazy pills these films are garbage, I am not even watching the third I gave them two chances. People like you were the reason I gave the first one a chance despite it looking like a cheap and nasty con, suprise I found it cheap and boring and my wife who usually gets s**t scared by scary films laughed at it. I watched the second purely because I believe in redeming possibilities and what a surprise worse than the overrated boring c**p original. Get out there and see some real horror jees man.

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