Movie Reviews

Published on March 2nd, 2012 | by Emmanuel Stratford


REVIEW: Paranormal Activity 3

REVIEW: Paranormal Activity 3 Emmanuel Stratford

Blu-Ray Review


Summary: This horror franchise brings us a prequel treatment which a great scare thrill ride.


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Starting off in 2005, where we see the two sisters from the first two sequels discussing a box of VHS’s from their childhood, we then flashback to 1985, to see these events unfold.  Here their step father Dennis sets up video cameras around the house to capture what’s happening after a mysterious figure appears during an earthquake.  Kristi befriends an entity called Toby who is trying to get her to hurt her family but when she refuses all kinds of things start to happen to the house and the people within it.  What is going on and who is going to survive?

This horror series is just up my alley, it has old school scares without the gore or torture porn of some modern day horrors.  It makes you watch the corners of the screen for any sign of something moving and about to terrorise you.  This third film in the series is much better than the last one but doesn’t quite hit the tense heights of the original.  It fills in a good bit of the back story as to why events happening in the earlier films while still giving us a genuine scarefest in its own right.

Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulmann, whose previous film ‘Catfish’ had audiences guessing to whether if it was real or fake, are perfect for this film.  They bring a new sense of fun and dread to a series which could have been going downhill fast, thankful they’ve been asked back to helm the fourth film too.  Where the next film will go though will be interesting, i hope it is a sequel to the first film so that we can see what happens after Katie killed her boyfriend and then took her sisters baby, anything other than that for me will be a letdown.

The cast are all unknowns, which is good because you don’t know who will live or die, and they bring decent acting to the film while the child actors are extremely convincing too but the real star here are the scares and they don’t disappoint.  The hovering camera which sways from left to right through the kitchen is such a great addition to the static camera arsenal that it escalates the edge of your seat moments to 11.  If you’re a fan of the series then you won’t be disappointed, others should still have a good time with this too.

Video Presentation

The video for ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ is not meant to be pretty.  It’s not ‘Blair Witch Project’ level ugly, but the facts of this film are simple: the events take place in 1988, and the cameras are recording to videotapes.  So, naturally, there’s some aesthetic to the picture, the fact that it isn’t glossy and shiny and digital looking.  Presented in 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 encode, this pre-sequel makes for an interesting watch.  Colours never band, but are also not consistent, going from warm with fairly good saturation to mostly off and under saturated for the majority of the picture.  There’s some intentional slight noise, some heavier grain that massively affects skin tones and detail levels, and textures can be pretty darned solid and believable, all things considered.

Audio Presentation

Much like the video, the audio for ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ is intentionally, kinda-sorta aimed at creating an era for the most part so one cannot expect a major sonic experience.  I love the intentional audio degradation and distortion early but it fades away over time.  The cameras do a good job of providing a realistic ambience for the film.  They have a constant light whir or whoosh to them, and exteriors pick up light wind.  Bass levels naturally pick up for Sarah’s footsteps or her throwing tantrums to be a total dick, but don’t precede her activities as much as in other films. The earthquake and a few other scenes have some pretty booming bass, it’s quite nice.


Lost Tapes – Two “lost tapes,” with optional play all feature.  Dennis scares his wife a few good times, before pitching his videotaping service.

This is a good film, better than the second one but still inferior to the original, although the lack of extras is a shame but if you’re a fan then you should check it out.

‘Paranormal Activity 3’ is out to rent or buy on DVD and Blu-Ray now.

About the Author

Emmanuel has been working in TV for over 15 years and has done many things in the field, now he’s mostly editing, producing and directing. He loves movies and has a wide interest in all genres; video games and TV are a massive interest/influence as well. He's been writing for TechTV101 for a few years and will continue that with GimmeDigital. He's a geek and proud of it.

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