Blu-ray Review: Paranormal Activity 3 – When Kids Do Creepy Things

The found-footage style of movies are here to stay. The Blair Witch Project pioneered it, and it was a great new way to scare audiences. The found-footage style carried over to movies like Cloverfield, but it’s the horror genre that benefits the most from it, with movies like the Paranormal Activity series, Quarantine, and The Devil’s Inside. By having a character in the movie be the cameraman, you feel like you’re actually with them, experiencing all the scares and chills with them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Paranormal Activity 3 was a prequel of the previous 2 films. Thanks to the power of VHS, we’re able to see the “lost” footage. In part 1 and 2 of the series, we followed two sisters, Katie and Kristi, in parallel timelines as they get haunted by a demon. Sucks to be their significant others though. The prequel follows the two sisters when they were just but wee little girls in the 80s. The scare formula is the same. You have the setup of the family. Slowly, scary things start to happen and the film increases in intensity, one night after another. We do get a little bit of info on why the girls were chosen by the demon.

The scares are still there for me. Moments like when the babysitter was in the kitchen, Kristi running around the house in the middle of the night, and the ending felt eery. The filmmakers have also introduced to us the camera rotating on on fan technique. The camera would slowly rotate from left to right. Every time the camera rotates from left to right is a moment of anticipation for the audience. I applaud the creators for getting me more interested in the story they are trying to tell, as I’m trying to figure out why the demon, named Toby, chose the girls.

One of the things that irked me about the previous films is that if it’s so dangerous in the house, why not just leave? Finally, part 3 shows us the family leaving the house.

Paranormal Activity 3 does the job for me. I was scared, entertained, and was more interested in how it all got started. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long, since part 4 will be out this year. Jigsaw, looks like your numbers are up, because here comes Toby.

Grade: B

Video Quality

It’s funny for me to review the video quality of a movie that’s meant to look like an old VHS tape. Luckily, the filmmakers chose to only make the intro look like an old VHA, but slowly transitions into a watchable flick for the HD crowd. It’s presented in 1080p MPEG-4 AVC codec with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is pretty good. The overall colors have been toned down for the movie, and blacks tend to change. The Blu-ray does its job of giving us the found-footage look of the film, but it’s not something that you’ll likely showcase on your HDTV to all your friends.

Grade: B-

Audio Quality

For a film that’s suppose to emulate an old VHS tape, having a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is quite contradictory. I don’t have a problem with it, since if it truly wanted the VHS-effect, it would’ve gotten annoying 10 minutes in. The lossless track does a good job of keeping you on your toes, as you’ll hear thumping and weird sounds, especially the “earthquake” sound. The track is definitely a win for this release.

Grade: B

Extras

There aren’t a lot of extras in the rated/unrated Blu-ray version. It’s pretty bare bones. All you have is the:

  • Scare Montage of Dennis scaring Julie
  • Dennis’ Commercial: A commercial for Dennis’ business.
  • Digital Copy
  • UV Copy
  • DVD Copy

Grade: F

Final Reaction

It’s a strong entry in the Paranormal Activity. Paranormal Activity 3‘s able to deliver the scares while letting us dig deeper into the history of the sisters. The Blu-ray format helps enhance the “VHS” quality of the video and the lossless soundtrack really does the job of raising your arm hairs.

Overall Grade: B

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