Paranormal Activity 3 (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

83






Studio and Year: Paramount - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 83/93 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring:Christopher Nicholas Smith, Lauren Bittner, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Dustin Ingram
Directed by: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Written by: Christopher Landon
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 24, 2012







"Discover how the activity began"



Film Synopsis:

Paranormal Activity 3 takes you back to where it all began and the activity is more intense than ever. The cameras are on and recording the chilling moments when evil begins to terrorize young sisters Katie and Kristi for the first time.




My Take:

I am admittedly a fan of the first two Paranormal Activity films with the first being the better effort. I find Paranormal Activity to be an effective horror film experience. Its slowly evolving and escalating storyline is perfectly paced and eerily frightening. Paranormal Activity 2 is paced slower and doesn't build the foundation of fear building up to its conclusion like the original film. That isn't to suggest that it isn't scary because the last 30 minutes or so are every bit as disturbing as the first film (maybe even more so). I like the development of story, the additional characters, and its tie into the original plotline. When Paranormal Activity 3 was announced and I saw that it was going to take us back to the origin of the terrifying presence's in Katie and Christie's lives, meaning their childhood (events referenced in the first two films). I looked forward to seeing how it all started. The trailer showed promise and included glimpses of the horrible fire referred to in the first film that destroyed everything they owned as well as images of Christie and Katie playing the dangerous game Bloody Mary which hinted at opening the door to the evil that would eventually destroy their lives. We went to see it opening weekend. Firstly I was shocked to learn that the film was only 83 minutes long. If you're familiar with these films the script follows the same pattern.

The year is 1988 and Christie and Katie are little girls living with their mother Julie and her wedding video/photographer boyfriend Dennis (not the girls father). Christie has an imaginary friend named Toby who keeps her up playing during the night and tells her secrets that she can't repeat for fear of reprisal from him. Dennis inadvertently captures what appears to be an image of him on tape one evening and that coupled along with unexplained bumps in the night sets him on the trail to track down the unseen entity. There is little to no explanation of what Toby is or specifically why he has targeted Christie. Things soon escalate coming to a boil in the finale (again as you might expect if you've seen either/both of the earlier films) with a fair amount of violence/suspense/frightening moments. Unfortunately the film closes leaving us with unanswered questions and left to surmise the whys and wherefores. On top of that many of the best moments featured in the trailer, including the fire and Bloody Mary sequences aren't even in the film. Huh? Don't get me wrong, on its face Paranormal Activity 3 has its share of startling moments and underlying terror. However its worth as a precursor to the events that lead up to the goings on in the first two films is seriously lacking in foundation.

I figured that I would wait patiently for the home video release which would more than likely contain a Director's Cut. In the back of my mind I also knew that even that didn't hold much promise since it would have to be quite a bit different when compared to the depleted storyline in the theatrical release. The Unrated Director's Cut adds an additional 10 minutes to the theatrical cut but alas doesn't change the original narrative one bit. In reality this film contradicts details in the first and second films. The truth is they apparently shot the footage (as seen in the trailer) required to support the storyline contained in the earlier films but for whatever reason went with a diminished version. The result isn't bad but fans expecting fulfilling answers won't get them. Oh well, for what it is Paranormal Activity 3 is a companion to the first two films and makes for a decent way to spend a rainy evening.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for some violence, language, brief sexuality and drug use.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 80


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

Paranormal Activity 3 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 Mbps.

Being a documentary as seen through the eyes of home video cameras this film uses both hand held and stationary camera perspectives often switching back and forth. As such the video rarely resembles high definition/film although this is intentional and reminiscent of how it looked when I saw it in the theater. Colors are natural, contrast is well balanced and blacks levels are elevated. I didn't observe any distracting artifacts and had no complaints with the stylized video quality which contributed to the source material.

The lossless audio presentation had no trouble conveying the predominantly front loaded elements present in the soundtrack recording. Dialogue reproduction was strong with clear intonation and fair room penetration. The mix did a nice job of handling the various directional cues associated with the hand held camera's perspective and near field simulation. There is some off camera and atmosphere creating sounds mixed to various points in the sound field and the effect is seamlessly blended. Dynamic range, clarity and bass definition was excellent. Jump scares were palpable and jarring which served to elevate the level of anticipation quite nicely. I thought that the audio/video quality here appeared faithful to the theatrical presentation while making for an improved overall experience.



Bonus Features:


  • Theatrical and Unrated versions of Paranormal Activity 3

  • (HD) Lost Tapes:

    1. Scare montage - 2 minutes
    2. Dennis commercial - Faux ad for Dennis wedding video business
    3. Bonus DVD of Paranormal Activity 3
    4. Digital Copy


Final Thoughts:

As a fan of the Paranormal Activity films I eagerly awaited the answers promised (discover how the activity began) in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 both in concept and as seen in the theatrical trailer. Unfortunately neither the theatrical or unrated cuts prove satisfying on that front however like the first two films there is an entertaining level of horror found in the creepy unseen terror that stalks Christie and Katie. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring faithful video quality, excellent lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound, and a barebones supplemental offering. If you're a fan this is worthwhile viewing. Just be sure to watch it on a rainy night when your home alone.











attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:24 AM
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Thanks Ralph! So are any of the trailer scenes such as the Bloody Mary part in the new extended cut? I thought it was a bit strange that most (all?) of the trailer scenes were strangely missing from the theatrical cut.

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

Thanks Ralph! So are any of the trailer scenes such as the Bloody Mary part in the new extended cut? I thought it was a bit strange that most (all?) of the trailer scenes were strangely missing from the theatrical cut.

Greetings,

Todd, a version of the Bloody Mary scene is in the director's cut but it's not the same one seen in the trailer (with something appearing behind the girls). The scene in the tralier where Christie is shown jumping off of the bedroom loft IS in the director's cut but that is pretty much it.

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Todd, a version of the Bloody Mary scene is in the director's cut but it's not the same one seen in the trailer (with something appearing behind the girls). The scene in the tralier where Christie is shown jumping off of the bedroom loft IS in the director's cut but that is pretty much it.

Regards,

Thanks and that is interesting. Looking forward to giving this a rent and watching at home alone, lights out, sound up which seems to ratchet up the thrills a bit more for these films

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Old 01-16-2012, 10:04 AM
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I've said it before when you guys reviewed PA2, and I'll say it again with PA3. They really need to revise their order in which they number these sequels (prequels?!?!).

PA1 should be PA1 as is, but PA2 should be PA0, followed up by PA3 being PA-1 to help avoid confusion!

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Old 01-16-2012, 12:33 PM
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I liked this one and thought it had a few good scares. I wonder if they are going to go with the found footage yet again with part 4. The format is starting to be a little too predictable (although that oscillating fan cam was pretty great!).
I didn't really care for the ending all that much...it was just a little too over the top.

Also, I found it amusing that the guy managed to record on his home movie camera in HD and widescreen (in the 80s!!!).
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:49 PM
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After seeing the trailer
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

After seeing the trailer

???
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:47 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph. I echo the disappointment with the missing trailer scenes, mostly the fire since I thought that would be part of the climax which ended up being a little lack luster.

I liked the first film but the alt ending is the only way to watch it. The second one was ok but the characters weren't nearly as likable which made me less concerned about their issues.

I enjoyed the third film more than the second and thought it had better scares but really just needed that extra 10 min or so to climax and fill in the blanks. Personally I think they left them out for #4, there seems to be a larger vision for this story than a random haunting brought on by children's games. I still think they could have given us a bit more in PA3 though.

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

After seeing the trailer

I agree Jam.

Anyway, I enjoyed part one of this series and part II is probably the only film in the history of films that can lay claim to the fact that it made me jump. To get the full impact of these movies, you have GOT to crank up the bass. The LFE is so effective that I literally had to recover from watching them. I don't know if part III will be of the same level of "scare" for me, but based on Ralph's review I'm looking forward to giving it a go.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

I agree Jam.

Anyway, I enjoyed part one of this series and part II is probably the only film in the history of films that can lay claim to the fact that it made me jump. To get the full impact of these movies, you have GOT to crank up the bass. The LFE is so effective that I literally had to recover from watching them. I don't know if part III will be of the same level of "scare" for me, but based on Ralph's review I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

Compared to its predecessors, this sequel held the best build-ups and was on a much larger visual level (good to some, not to others), but it was also unfortunately the most predictable on a scare basis. I will note that there are large exceptions to that last bullet I put, because the last 20 minutes I was trembling in my seat the entire time.

Can't wait to get the Blu-ray for this and freak out my little sister haha. She saw the first one bootlegged and on a laptop... shame on her.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:13 AM
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i saw the first PA in a theater, and i was one of the few people laughing throughout the thing. i didn't bother watching either of the 2 sequels. i always tell people that i've been divorced twice, there's nothing hollywood can come up with that can scare me after having been married.

still, based on your review, maybe there's some merit or worth in watching the sequels. while there's still a blockbuster open near me (for 2 more weeks), maybe i'll run over there this week and see if they have them.

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Old 01-17-2012, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

???

I saved myself a lot of time and used it for something better. lol

Seriously though after seeing the trailer it just didn't do it for me. I'm sure others liked this film but not me.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

I saved myself a lot of time and used it for something better. lol

Seriously though after seeing the trailer it just didn't do it for me. I'm sure others liked this film but not me.

I don't get it. Did you see the film, or just the trailer?

Have you seen the other Paranormal Activity films?
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by muffinmcfluffin View Post

I don't get it. Did you see the film, or just the trailer?

Have you seen the other Paranormal Activity films?

PA3 trailer only and that was enough for me.

PA1 the whole movie. Didn't see PA2.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

PA3 trailer only and that was enough for me.

I asked because in the film's defense, there is not a single shot in the trailer that is used in the movie (maybe some similar/alternate takes, but nothing straight out of the trailer). It was a very useful tactic that I have always hoped more movies would do.

Quote:


PA1 the whole movie. Didn't see PA2.

Okay. If you didn't like PA1 at all, then I don't suppose you could possibly like 2 or 3. They are technically more of the same. If you did like PA1, you might as well owe it to yourself to see the next two. They're pretty good, especially PA3.
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:28 PM
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This was much better than what I expected after hearing the rumor mill. I enjoyed this very much, perhaps the most of all in the series. It did feel, however, much darker (in a supernatural sense) than the prior offerings.

Having recently seen the first one on Epix using my plain tv speakers, I will confess the movie isn't the same without the low effects. You actually miss all of the suspense and build up. When played on a proper system, I can say that I enjoy the sound very much. For that, I think we need a 6th sounding that captures the mood the sound creates. I would give this one, just like the prior ones and movies like Jaws, 5 dots.
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