Paranormal Activity 3 DVD Review

The best in the series so far still frightens, but is dulled outside of a cinema.

in Paranormal Activity, Reviews / By Sam Faulkner / Rating: 3/5
Paranormal Activity 3 DVD Review

Following on from our glowing theatrical review, we still firmly believe Paranormal Activity 3 to be the best of the series so far. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman take the established formula in fairly familiar directions for the first half, before unleashing some show-stopping scares in the second half. The last ten minutes is still an exercise in fear which in our opinion could have taught The Woman in Black a thing or two about inventiveness.

Enjoying perhaps the best cast of the series so far, PA3 benefits from genuinely sympathetic leads, with affable stepfather Dennis(Chris Smith) providing moments of real levity amongst the tension, as he and exasperated partner Julie (Lauren Bittner) deal with the ghostly goings on in the bedroom of Julie’s two young daughters Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristy (Jessica Tyler Brown). The two girls are great on camera, with Tyler Brown‘s creepy interactions with her “imaginary friend” particular highlights.

There are still one or two moments which go for disappointingly obvious scares – some of the jumps near the end feel cheap –but on the whole this remains an enjoyable helping of sleep-with-the-lights-on horror. It does, however, lose much of its impact on a second viewing, as many of the frightening moments are dulled by prior knowledge. The creepy atmosphere stands up though, meaning that this still has something to offer to returning fans.

It does have to be said that the best way to watch a Paranormal Activity film remains firmly in the cinema- the natural habitat of the ghost-train humour which the franchise deals in. Home viewing does take away the immersive dimension of the big screen, but given a large enough TV, and a carefully arranged viewing experience, the film still has more than enough in its locker to frighten the pants off an audience.

In terms of extras, there isn’t too much to write home about, one or two scenes of Dennis playing pranks on Julie bring some welcome humour after the tense main feature, and an advert for his wedding video business will bring a grin to all but the grumpiest of viewers. It is a shame though that the huge amount of cut footage which was included in early trailers (in a clever piece of misdirection, if you ask us) isn’t showcased. It seems on first glance like a missed opportunity, and if we wanted to be cynical about it an effort to work in a special edition at a later date, but unfortunately the extras package adds little here.