The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 83/93 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
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"
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.
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.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- Theatrical and Unrated versions of Paranormal Activity 3
- (HD) Lost Tapes:
- Scare montage - 2 minutes
- Dennis commercial - Faux ad for Dennis wedding video business
- Bonus DVD of Paranormal Activity 3
- Digital Copy
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.
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