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on October 22, 2011
First off, I should say that I LOVED parts one and two. The first two relied more heavily on very slow-building tension. These predecessors basically "taught" viewers how to watch these movies in the first 20-30 minutes by offering numerous subtle, relatively unimportant objects moving as if a spectral breeze had shifted them. This way when such production devices became important, the viewer had a trained eye--not unlike what was done with White Noise. These movies convey a style that is very unusual. So it came as no surprise to me that there was little middle ground in people's opinions of them; they loved'em or hated'em. I love'em. Why? Because my senses are all on full power; I'm all in; I'm practically concentrating on the screen and listening to every creak trying to sleuth out the next clue that something fishy is going on in that house. Some people may call this "work". I call it cool. [But people chatting during the movie are a much greater distraction than normal under the circumstances.]

This third installment was my least favorite, but I can totally understand why it may be others' favorite. While it still employed subtle moving objects, it did it less, instead relying on more mainstream devices to provoke scared jumps from the audience. It also borrowed more heavily from the Poltergeist movies than the first two--not that I minded. The characters' investigation into the strange goings-on was more methodical and plot-driven. The first two were more event-driven and investigated more out of fear and curiosity. The differences between 3 and 1 & 2 were subtle, but numerous, chief amongst them being that "the paranormal" functions as a character in this movie, rather than a mysterious "force" in the first two. As such, the actions of "the paranormal" were more blatant and felt more like "it" was doing something "to someone" whereas in 1 & 2 it was more like "something was happening" to someone in a haunted house.

The plot is simple. A family lives in a house. Weird things start happening. Step-dad starts putting cameras around the house. Things get weirder. And from there anything more would give too much away. But while the first two movies' endings left us largely to wild speculation, I will say that this one ends with something of an explanation of the paranormal activity.

It doesn't really matter in which order you watch these movies. However, each sequel (or in this case prequel) was designed to mold over the events of the previous installment. So watch them in order if it's convenient. I also demand you watch these with the lights off. It makes it easier to avoid distractions while you're concentrating on the screen.
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on October 31, 2014
In my opinion, 3 is the best of the Paranormal franchise as well as a fine example of how the found footage method can be used to evoke a sense of shocking realism and just a dang good, stand-alone, supernatural horror movie period.

A family is terrorized by an evil spirit and it's all caught on tape... what else do you really need to know? The important thing is that the presentation is legitimately scary and when I say scary I mean "hair on the back of your neck stands up making you suddenly suspicious of the closed door to that spare room in the back of the house thinking it might not be a bad idea to leave at least one light on when you go to sleep" scary. The whole retro setting was actually a stroke of genius as it provided an opportunity for an entirely different (and better) cast who I continue to like having watched this movie about a half dozen times.

The ending of this film is the real kicker (I've already seen more than a few FF films try to copy it) as it represents a very nightmarish descent into a darker side of contemporary society which we desperately hope is nothing more than fantasy. When viewing please adjust the time slot to late at night, environment should be as alone as possible and it doesn't hurt if there's a storm blowing outside. :o)
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VINE VOICEon April 30, 2012
It must be said that the "found footage" sub-genre of horror movies requires the audience to suspend disbelief a bit. The idea is clever - you're watching something that allegedly really happened, which gives the movie a bit of documentary-style credibility. But you have to accept that at some point in the movie, you're going to shout, "put down the darn camera!" It's surprising that the "Scream" franchise hasn't mocked this trope yet.

Either you can get past this, or you can't. If you can, the "Paranormal Activity" series should be on your must-see list. The first two movies tell the present-day stories of Kristi and Katie, two sisters whose pleasantly suburban lifestyles are ripped asunder by a sinister spectral force. In "Paranormal Activity 3," we return to 1988, where the sisters first meet the poltergeist who will terrify them and their families a few years down the road.

The movie sets the stage by showing grown-up Kristy and Katie rediscovering old videotapes from when they were children - a gift from recently departed Grandma. These tapes are later stolen in a scene all too familiar with fans of the first two films. The movie then switches to the videotapes.

Young Katie and Kristi are enjoying Katie's birthday party, and we also meet their mom Julie and her boyfriend Dennis. (Oddly, there's never any mention of the girls' biological father - where did he go . . . hmmm.) Dennis, conveniently for the movie's conceit, is a videographer, so naturally his response to every development is his life is to tape it. During the birthday video, we learn that Kristi has a close relationship with an imaginary friend, Toby.

Toby, as you might guess, turns out to be more than imaginary, and he quickly proves to be one scary, demanding guy. To avoid spoilers, that's it for the plot summary.

Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman know how to make a found-footage movie. Tension builds nicely as we strain to watch a seemingly innocuous scene - are the bedsheets moving? How about the lamp? Perhaps the creepiest scenes (before the final 15 minutes, which are terrifying) come with their use of a video camera set up on an oscillating fan base so the camera slowly pans from one part of the house to another - the directors' clever use of the "that freaking thing wasn't there a few seconds ago" trick will have you looking over your own shoulder the next time you're all alone in the house and hear an unexplained noise.

For a third installment in a horror series, "Paranormal Activity 3" exceeds all expectations. A spooky film that builds to a truly frightening third act, "3" succeeds in deepening the story created by the first two installments without wearing out our interest - the filmmakers know that we're here to get scared, not to get a PhD-level understanding of Toby . . . and scare you they do. Terrific stuff.
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on January 24, 2012
Okay, I LOVED this movie in the theater! It was scary and kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through it!

So I rushed out and got this on the very first day it was released and I eagerly watched it. It was just as good on my TV as it was in the theaters. I wasn't as scared cuz I knew what was going to happen, but I was excited to see that there was a "Extended Version!" I eagerly clicked on that and watched it with my girlfriend. However from what I could see, there was only one thing that was different. There's a scene where Dennis gets up in the middle of the night cuz he hears something and he grabs the camera. He goes to the window and something rattles the window. That's it. Not really worth the extra money if you ask me.

I only have one actual complaint about the movie itself. They use modern catch phrases in a movie that was set in the 80's. The phrases, "That just happened!" and "Seriously!?!" Those phrases didn't exist back then, so they shouldn't be in this movie!

Ever since the first Paranormal Activity movie came out I was waiting for them to put a commentary on one of these movies so I could hear more about this movie series and how the movies were made, but I have yet to get a Paranormal Activity with a commentary, or some interviews, or SOMETHING other than just the movie itself.

Sure there was a few extra "scares" where Dennis scares his wife in the style of MTV's Jackass, and a commercial that Dennis made for his little business of filming weddings. But that's it, that's all that's on this Blu Ray.

So if all you're really looking for is the movie itself, then you'll be very happy with this movie, but if you wanted some extra features on this disc, you're gonna be disappointed.
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I admit, the PA franchise is, as a whole, fairly lacking in any scares. Now, the first film, if I had the lights out and the sound way up, was fairly decent. But, they seem to get increasingly dull as the series progresses, and this one's no different. Still, I have to admit, I do seem to find myself watching these for some reason. I don't know if there is some kind of strange gnome-like creature that sneaks out in the middle of the day as Im boiling water for my Cup O Noodles, but when I sit down, I often find one of these movies on my TV screen. Maybe its that they make for effective white noise, which I find useful for relaxation, but I do - unerringly - end up watching them when they do come on the screen. PA 3 is no exception, and may even be the dullest of the five released to date.
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on October 18, 2012
This installment gets an A+ for cleverness but a C for scares.

What made PA2 so good was that although it was a Hollywood cash-grab sequel, it carefully built on the minimalist scares of the original, while building the mythology. I actually like the sequel more than the original.

Part 3 is just as clever in its construction as Part 2, and I'm grateful to the filmmakers for giving us what we **remember** VHS looking like, not what it **actually** looks like!

But the problem with PA 3 is that it's more "hollywood" than #2 was, making the unknown horror of the first two films into something closer to a "franchise monster" like Freddy Kreuger or Chucky. We now know roughly the size and shape of "IT", we know what "IT" sounds like, "IT" now has a name and, as we see, an origin of sorts.

#3 also suffers from Hollywood sequel-itis. For example, if pots and pans falling on a kitchen floor was scary, then the entire contents of a kitchen falling is scarier, right? Right? Nope.

Another Hollywoodism: Anything for a scare. Even if it doesn't fit, or make sense with what we already know.

And then there's the standard "They definitely know they're in danger but stay anyway," which worked under the circumstances of Part One but makes no sense here, especially with the kids in danger. If you sat and watched videos of your kid being pushed around by an invisible monster, you probably wouldn't have her sleep in the same room that night. Probably...

So, ultimately, I guess I'm glad I know the whole story (or as much as I need to know). But if you're on the fence as I was, fearing a letdown after the first two, my advice is quite while you're ahead and don't see it.
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on July 14, 2015
this one is a big improvement in the scare department from the second one, and they fixed some of the issues I had with the second one. The first improvement is the static cameras. The second one had very wide camera angles that did not really cause any suspense. the example being the outdoor pool. this one goes back to the tighter close quarter shots focusing attention on a few specific things. example the girls narrow loft bedroom. The scares were much more elaborate in this one as well. without spoiling two films PA 2 had mostly pots and pans falling, doors opening and closing, that sort of stuff. PA 3 seems to skip the slow build up of activity and focus more on larger more obvious stuff like a bed being thrown. I got it everyone has a different opinion on what movie is the best. For me the one with the most scares is number 3 but I still like the first one better. number two I really didn't like. the things I don't care for are the story. I didn't watch any of these films expecting or even caring if it had a great story line, if I wanted a horror with a story line I would watch Candy man, not a low budget found footage film that's at like 5 movies in the series. At the end of the day I recommend this for someone who likes cheap scares and doesn't mind sitting through static camera footage.
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on February 4, 2012
I'm only reviewing the bluray itself, not the movie. I actually enjoyed this movie when i saw it in theaters. The trailer was missleading but the movie still delivered. Now after the movie had ended I had thought that there must of been two completely different cuts of the film to explain why they made a trailer with scenes that for the majority of the part were not in the movie. alas i was wrong. in this bluray you get the theatrical release, and the unrated version, along side the lost tapes which is pretty much a bunch of scenes where the stepdad just scares his wife in funny places, and his promo commmercial selling himself as a video recorder for special occassions. really. thats it. thats the special "lost tapes" that is all. so do yourself a favor and buy the single dvd version of this movie. it is still a good movie to watch.
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on September 30, 2015
I really have appreciated these movies, all of them, save number 4 which I have not yet seen. They are well done, and its just rare to find good solid scary/paranormal type movies, nowadays especially. Strangely... I loved the first two... This third one, while not my favorite one, was scarier to me than the other two. Strange. I love the costumes and the 80's feel... I think they did a great job with that. The acting was very good, all around... But something about the way they filmed it this time (the camera hitched to a fan, moving slowly between two rooms... insanity inducing suspense, there) was too much for this 40 year old to bear ... er... even during a day time viewing! I found myself unable to withstand the slow build-up of those scenes... when you just KNOW some scary sh*t will be in the next rotation to the other room. I had my hand up over my face, I was so scared. I can't quite put my finger on why I actually enjoyed the other two more than I "enjoyed" this one. But anyway its really just picking hairs, because its a fine suspense filled thriller, and as I said before... for me... this one was scarier than the other two.
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on April 24, 2014

It is in this film that we “discover how the activity began” with a young Katie and a young Kristi. When the first film was released I was all about it because it had been a while since the found footage thing had been done theatrically. When it was a success I knew a sequel would follow and when that did well I knew a third was coming. Seeing how the first two played out story wise I kinda had a feeling a prequel was on the way. I wasn’t sure if it would be the next film or not but I knew it was on the way. So when the third was actually released as such I was interested in seeing it.

Julie, her two daughters, and her boyfriend Dennis are your typical family in the late eighties. Julie loves Dennis and loves that her girls love Dennis as well. Dennis is a videographer doing mostly weddings but he starts to put his cameras around the house when things start to get a little weird. Strange noises and objects moving plus the youngest daughter Kristi is talking to an imaginary friend, Toby. That is normal for a young child but as things progress Dennis believes that Toby may be anything but imaginary.

I am not sure how I would rank this film amongst the others, it’s hard to decide since they all seem the same to me. I do find these films entertaining but none have really scared me. With that said this one falls right in nicely with the others except maybe for the ending which was the only new thing that surprised me a little. This film went on to be the highest grossing “PA” film in the franchise, I still think it is at this point. Like the previous two this was an entertaining flick which is all I can ask for.
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