31 Days of Horror Movie: Paranormal Activity 3 (2011; R; 85 min)

Note to self: do not pump up on caffeine, on an empty stomach no less, before going to see a scary movie in the theater! Let’s just say the guys behind me had a good laugh (or ten) watching me jump out of my seat every time something scary happened!

And plenty of great scares there were, with lots of tension and suspense built in too, in this third installment (the prequel) of the Paranormal Activity franchise. That’s why I was so disappointed with the ending of the movie, which to me felt like it didn’t really fit in with the other two movies and explain what happens in PA and PA2.

Going way back to 1988 when Katie and Kristi were young girls, PA3 lets us see how they came to be “haunted” when they were all grown up. In this installment, young Kristi (played by the adorable and believable Jessica Tyler Brown) has made a new, albeit invisible, friend named Toby. She seems to be scared of him to some degree, as he wakes her at night and asks her to do things in the house. Around the same time, her mother Julie and Julie’s live-in boyfriend Dennis start hearing odd noises in various parts of the house. Dennis is a wedding videographer in the days of good ol’ VHS, so he sets up a couple of cameras around the house to see if he can capture anything on tape.

As September unfolds, and a babysitter is scared out of her wits during one parents-night-out, Toby becomes more and more posessive of Kristi and hurtful to the others in the house. At first they try to ignore what is happening around them, but soon can’t continue pretending nothing is really happening, especially as the video footage adds up and up.

Unfortunately, when Kristi’s grandmother enters the picture to offer assistance, the movie starts going downhill fast. The ending seems contrived and not in keeping with the “spirit” of what happens to the girls later in life. If you want to watch the movie for some great scares, you’ll definitely find them here. But if you want to wrap up the trilogy in a nice, neat, and dare I say, believable, fashion, you’ll need to hope for an alternate ending when the movie is released on DVD.

  • Top Scare: Early in the movie
  • Heartbeats: 4 out of 5
  • Gore factor: 1 1/2 out of 5
  • Scare factor: 4 out of 5
  • Recommended for: 15 and up (even though it’s rated R, which I feel it didn’t deserve at all)

One response to “31 Days of Horror Movie: Paranormal Activity 3 (2011; R; 85 min)

  1. Definitely better than the second one and even though it’s a little bit of the same thing around again, it still is totally freaky and has so many chilling moments that will stay in your mind forever. Good review.

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