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Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

 -  Horror  -  21 October 2011 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 64,307 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 304 user | 242 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

In 1988, young sisters Katie and Kristi befriend an invisible entity who resides in their home.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Dennis (as Chris Smith)
...
...
Kristi (as Jessica Brown)
Hallie Foote ...
...
...
...
...
...
William Juan Prieto ...
Hunter (as William Prieto)
Jackson Xenia Prieto ...
Hunter (as Jackson Prieto)
Paitoon Cheng ...
Ida
Eddie Medrano ...
...
Edit

Storyline

In 1988, in California, cinematographer Dennis moves to the house of his girlfriend Julie to raise a family with her daughters Katie and Kristi. Little Kristi has an imaginary friend named Toby while weird things happen in the house. Dennis decides to place cameras in the house to capture images during the night and soon he finds that there is an entity in the house. Dennis's friend Randy Rosen (Dustin Ingram) researches the events and learns that his house might be a coven of witches and the children may be in danger. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It Runs In The Family See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence, language, brief sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 October 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atividade Paranormal 3  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$52,568,183 (USA) (21 October 2011)

Gross:

$104,007,828 (USA) (30 December 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The highest grossing film in the Paranormal Activity series. See more »

Goofs

When Julie gets off the phone with her mother to answer the door, the camera begins panning back to the dining room. Just before Julie gets back into view, the dining room chairs' positions, table shadow and the beige couch's change. This is indication that the "Kitchen Drop" scene was performed later on in the day; then CGI stitched together to pull off the illusion that an impossible feat was completed in seconds. See more »

Quotes

Randy Rosen: She got blown in the face!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, sound effects from the film can be heard. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nostalgia Chick: The Lion King (in 3D!) (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Learning the Lie
Written by Joel Gibb
Performed by The Hidden Cameras
Published by Embassy Music Corp.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Long Live the Reigning King of "Gotcha!"
21 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Reigning king of the "Gotcha!" moment, Paranormal Activity is back – and though the premise may have worn thin, (how many compulsive videographers can one extended family have?) its minimalist scare tactics are as effective as ever. Scream for scream, the theater experience is without rival; hushed gasps, nervous tittering, and shrieks of surprise are empirical evidence of the films' effectiveness. Hence the backlash when Paranormal Activity hit home video: these movies cater to a crowd.

A prequel of sorts, Paranormal Activity 3 rewinds the franchise to 1988, illuminating the origins of the Presence that ran amok in parts one and two. Helmed by Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the flick treads familiar territory, but keeps the audience on its toes. One of the major criticisms leveled against Oren Peli's original was its predictable cycle of daytime exposition and midnight scares. Rinse and repeat.

Screenwriter Christopher B. Landon, who also wrote the underwhelming Paranormal Activity 2, does a better job this time of pitching the odd changeup. With an omnipresent atmosphere of unease, no moment feels entirely safe. And it goes without saying that the freaky stuff is much more explicitly freaky. Rest assured the Rey family doesn't own a pool, let alone a cleaning robot.

Probably the single most brilliant technical addition to the Paranormal Activity repertoire is the oscillating camera. Panning ominously between kitchen and living room, the simple mechanic works like a suspense machine. Joost and Schulman certainly get their money's worth out of the gimmick, milking it for some of their whitest white-knuckle moments. Fashioned from a tabletop fan, the device is a perfect metaphor for the franchise itself: cheap, homemade, effective.

But for ingenuity and inventiveness, the original is still tops. For all its merciless suspense, Paranormal Activity 3 falls back on a few too many false alarms ("Gotcha!") and bad payoffs, and offers no real innovations in imagery. From Poltergeist to The Exorcist, it's easy to tell where the directors pulled inspiration, almost copy-and-pasting classic moments into the found footage aesthetic.

Then again, anyone expecting real innovation from the third Paranormal Activity film is barking up the wrong tree. Part of the fun is how loosely defined the abilities of the otherworldly antagonist are. It possesses, communicates, and manipulates. But wait, there's more! Paranormal Activity 3 plays like a grab bag of horror ideas and iconography. Like any grab bag, not everything inside is interesting.

For one, hand-held footage plays a more prominent role than ever, which strains the believability of some key sequences. Then there's hokey filler like the "Bloody Mary" urban legend, which squarely fills the vacancy left by the Ouija board on the Paranormal Activity blueprint. And who could forget Randy (Dustin Ingram) and his transparent, annoying attempts at comic relief?

Paranormal Activity 3 doesn't reinvent the franchise. It's not even the best Paranormal Activity film. It doesn't need to be. Its aim is to refine the series' mechanics and reinvigorate audience interest, and it succeeds. So what's next? Likely what keeps Paramount executives up at night is how to squeeze the supernatural saga for every penny it's worth. Long live the reigning king of "Gotcha!"


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