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

Writers:

Christopher Landon, Oren Peli (film "Paranormal Activity")
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lauren Bittner ... Julie
Christopher Nicholas Smith ... Dennis (as Chris Smith)
Chloe Csengery ... Katie
Jessica Tyler Brown ... Kristi (as Jessica Brown)
Hallie Foote ... Grandma Lois
Dustin Ingram ... Randy Rosen
Johanna Braddy ... Lisa
Katie Featherston ... Adult Katie
Brian Boland ... Daniel
Sprague Grayden ... Adult Kristi
William Juan Prieto ... Hunter (as William Prieto)
Jackson Xenia Prieto Jackson Xenia Prieto ... Hunter (as Jackson Prieto)
Paitoon Cheng Paitoon Cheng ... Ida
Eddie Medrano Eddie Medrano ... Party Magician
Rebecca Delgado Smith ... Crying Bridesmaid
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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:

Discover how the activity began. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Very little set dressing was done on the house from Paranormal Activity 3: "We would walk into [some of the potential locations] and it would be like they were frozen in the 80s," said Peli. "We wouldn't even need to do too much to them. So, sometimes you get lucky. [...] We didn't want to throw the 80s thing in your face too much. We didn't want it to make it hugely like, 'Look, it's the 80s!" See more »

Goofs

The bank-and-forth movement of an oscillating fan, especially the style shown for use on the downstairs camera, is created by gearing at the back of the fan's motor. By removing the fan and motor, it would no longer oscillate. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Daniel: [documenting behind the camera] You'll be spending a lot of time in here. This is gonna be your room. There's some kind of animal being de-liced or something. Compression chamber, that's your crib. It's hermetically sealed. And this is your paint color. What color is that, hon?
Adult Kristi: Jamaica bay blue.
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Crazy Credits

In the middle of the closing credits, in keeping with the 1988 period of the film, the Paramount logo that was used circa 1988 is shown. See more »

Alternate Versions

Includes an unrated director's cut and "lost tapes" (Dennis' pranking Julie and a commercial of his video company.) See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinematic Excrement: Found Footage (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Written by Jack Dolgen (as Jack Selig Dolgen)
Performed by Josh Koenigsberg, Henry Joost & Jack Dolgen (as Jack Selig Dolgen)
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User Reviews

Long Live the Reigning King of "Gotcha!"
21 October 2011 | by colinrgeorgeSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Paranormal Activity 3 See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,568,183, 23 October 2011

Gross USA:

$104,028,807

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$207,039,844
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated director's cut)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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