Paranormal Activity 3
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Paranormal Activity 3 can be found here.

As Kristi (Sprague Grayden) and Dan (Brian Boland) Rey decorate the nursery and eagerly await the birth of their son, Katie (Katie Featherston) drops by with a box of videotapes made when they were young girls living at home with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith). The rest of the movie is a flashback to that time in 1988. Kristi has acquired an imaginary friend that she calls Toby. Certain that something odd is happening in the house, Dennis sets up cameras in the bedrooms, dining room, and kitchen.

Paranormal Activity 3 is based on a screenplay by American television writer Christopher Landon. The story is a prequel to Paranormal Activity (2007) and Paranormal Activity 2 (2010), showing events occurring 18 years before those depicted in the first two films. It was followed by two sequels: Paranormal Activity 4 (2012) and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015).

Paranormal Activity 3 can be viewed as a stand-alone. Watching all three films provides a more complete storyline. Some viewers feel that the order is unimportant. If the movies are watched in reverse order of release (first PA 3, then PA2 and then Paranormal Activity), the events unfold in the correct chronological order (with the exception of the epilogue of Paranormal Activity 2). Others feel that watching them in order of release is better, because the story gradually builds, and the third movie provides some twists that give more background to the events of the first two movies.

In Paranormal Activity, it is indicated that the entity is not a ghost but a demon, an evil entity which has never been human and exists solely to cause pain and suffering. The entity is referred to as 'Toby' in this film, and although its nature is not further explained, it is strongly implied that the demon was summoned by the witch convent of Grandma Lois, and it wants a male child from one of its female victims.

It is not explained in the film. As "Toby" seems an unlikely name for such an entity, some fans have theorized that Kristi did have an imaginary friend called Toby, and that the entity decided to convince the child it was Toby to obtain from her what it wanted.

It's never explained in the film, but there are some strong hints. The sequence that would appear to hold the answer is intentionally edited, cutting away from Dennis each time he begins to elaborate upon something he's learned in his research. What the audience does find out is that (1) there existed a "coven" of women in the 1920s who summoned demons, (2) after summoning a demon the women would wait until a daughter of the coven had reached child-bearing age. The girl would be brainwashed and "remember nothing," though what event(s) were being wiped out is not explained, and (3) these events all lead up to the birth of a male child. In the girls' bedroom Julie tells her mother she doesn't want more kids. The grandmother replies with "but you always wanted a boy." Basically, the grandmother (a witch) has made some kind of deal with a demon to allow it to marry a girl in the family and have a demon-possessed male child. It is even possible that grandma Lois herself was once married to the demon, but since she had not produced a male child, Julie became the next 'bride'. Since Julie doesn't plan to have a boy anymore, the demon and the grandmother set their sights on the next generation (Kristi). In Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2, Kristi and Katie indeed seem to have no memory of the ritual and the death of Dennis. It can be surmised that Kirstie was secretly married to 'Toby', and both girls brainwashed to forget about this (although the girls both remember childhood memories of being haunted). When Kristi got a husband and a son years later, the demon came back to claim his bride (Kristie) and collect the boy (Paranormal Activity 2). However, Kristie's husband managed to exorcise the demon from Kristie, and transfer it to Katie (Paranormal Activity). Eventually, the demon got its way when a possessed Katie killed Kristie and her husband, and walked away with their son.

Shortly after arriving at their grandmother's, Kristi gets prepared for a wedding ceremony, saying she will marry Toby. We can only assume this is what she agreed to do for him. It can also be implied that she agrees to giving him the soul of her first born son. She might not remember doing this as she was very likely brainwashed, but that probably continued on in the curse as shown in Paranormal Activity 2.

Julie does not say why she reacts the way she does in the film and we can only theorize on her motives. The first easy explanation could be that Julie is obtuse. Another explanation however could be that Julie had similar experiences in her own childhood and refuses to let it happen again, following the idea that if you ignore it completely, it will eventually go away. Her reluctance to believe might also be due to her being brainwashed as a child.

Desperate to be out of the house, Julie and Dennis take Kristi and Katie to stay with Grandma Lois (Hallie Foote). After serving them apple pie, Grandma Lois and Katie play dressup with Kristi, outfitting her to look like a bride. When Julie asks who is the lucky guy, Kristi replies, 'Toby.' Julie admonishes Kristi and tells her to never mention Toby's name again. She puts the girls to bed, then she and Dennis go to bed, too. During the night, they are awakened by the sounds of cars, thuds, and scraping. Julie gets up to check on her mother. When minutes pass and Julie still hasn't returned, Dennis goes looking for her, taking the camera with him. He checks on the girls first and finds that they are no longer in their bed. He walks throughout the house calling their names. He sees a shadow in the dining room but, when he looks in, there is no one there. However, the pictures have curiously been taken down revealing the same symbol that he found painted on the wall in the girls' room. He goes outside to find Lois and several other women dressed in black. They head towards him, and Dennis runs back into the house. Still no sign of Julie until he looks upstairs and sees her suspended over the landing. He starts to mount the stairs, and Julie's body comes crashing down on him. Suddenly, Kristi wanders into the room, scared about what has happened to her mother. Dennis and Kristi hide in a closet, while the thuds of heavy footsteps and low growls can be heard in the hallway. When the noises go away, Dennis and Kristi try to run from the house. Dennis can see a bonfire in the yard with several people standing around it. Dennis notices Katie crouched near Julie's body and goes over to get her. As he puts his hand on her shoulder, Katie turns to growl, flings him across the room, and runs away. His leg apparently injured, Dennis tries crawling towards Julie. Lois appears in front of him and, with a violent crunch, Dennis' body contorts backwards, snapping his spine. In the final scene, Katie returns and, hand in hand, she and Lois begin climbing the stairs. Kristi follows them, calling out to Toby to follow them. Lois takes Kristi's hand and says, 'Let's get ready,' and they walk upstairs. A low growl can be heard, the camera is smashed, and filming stops.

The movie differs significantly from the full length trailer and many of the tv spots. Scenes that actually make it into the movie include Randy saying you have to record this, Julie hanging at the top of the stairs, scenes from the initial birthday party, and some scenes of Kristi talking to the demon off-screen. Scenes that were cut include the girls playing the Bloody Mary, the girls huddling in the kitchen, the girls knocking on the closet door, the mother being flung onto the bed, the house on fire, any scene with the priest, the scribbles all over the storage space walls, Kristi throwing water on the demon and it flinging furniture around in front of the mother, the mother watching footage of Kristi walking along the balcony railing, jumping off, then running back up the stairs.

According to this movie, the covens used to brainwash people, and maybe this one did it to the girls. In the second movie they do seem to remember some things, which means that either the brainwashing only muddled their memories instead of erasing them or they were referring to whatever happened in 1992. In the first movie, Micah made a joke about Katie's mother visiting them. Maybe the girls lived with their grandmother who they started calling their mother, or they ended up in adoption, or their dad got re-married. It's also possible that Julie survived the fall down the stairs. But there's still no explanation on how the tapes survived the fire.

Paramount released the Theatrical Version on DVD and the Unrated Director's Cut exclusively on Blu-ray. Although it contains approx 10 minutes of new footage, the Director's Cut doesn't containy anything really new. A bit creepiness here and a new shock effect there doesn't make the movie better at all. Lots of things, especially the style, is already known from the prequels. Nonetheless a detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

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