Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) A Shining Example of Why Sex Tapes are Bad

Like many other folks, I saw  Paranormal Activity and liked it. Granted I did not see it at the cinema, I waited until it was on sale for five pounds. Because of the price, I mean a fiver is not a lot for a film, I was surprised to find that I did like it. Then they came out with Paranormal Activity 2 which in my humble opinion was even better than the first one. I also thought that was the end of the films.


Of course PA3 as with all the subsequent PA films was directed by a different person. Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the first in the trilogy, is back on board as a co-writer. Paranormal Activity 3 was directed by no less than two people, Henry JoostAriel Schulman, and they negate the old saying of too many cooks. This latest offering in the Paranormal series kicks ass.

Time for another Reader’s Digest version of the plot. At the beginning of the film we see a box of video tapes being delivered by Katie (the soon to be deceased protagonist from Paranormal Activity) to her pregnant sister Kristi (soon to be deceased protagonist from PA2) the box of tapes is put in the basement. A bit later in the film the tapes go missing after a “break-in.”

The tapes are from 1988. In that year Katie and Kristi are living with their mother Julie and her boyfriend Dennis. Dennis has his own business, he uses the ‘new’ videotape craze to his advantage by taping weddings and other special events. One such event, Dennis decides, should be a sex tape with him and girl friend Julie. While they begin to tape their “sex-capade” an earthquake strikes. They immediately stop to check on the girls. With the video recorder still running, we see  a place where the dust falling from the ceiling causes a shape to appear.

When Dennis reviews the tape the next day, he shows Julie. All Julie notices it how fat she looks in the video. After the girls moved in with Mom Julie,  Kristi started talking to an invisible friend  called Toby. Toby starts getting more active as time goes by and does a few disturbing things. Dennis decides to start filming around the house to try and catch whoever is doing these things. He enlists the help of his assistant Randy. As events begin to escalate the doubtful Julie (who has never really believed in Toby or the things he has been supposedly doing) realizes that something is going on and to Grandmother’s house they go.

The film delivers some first class chills, thrills, and jumpy scares. Towards the beginning of the film, I almost had a heart attack, in a scene that featured Julie, Dennis and a fright mask. It had nothing to do with the ‘paranormal activity’ but the film had me so cranked up it still scared me. Later in the film when things are escalating and  are starting to get a bit dangerous, there is a scene with the babysitter that again scared the crap out of me.

This is a worthy addition to the previous two films and has done so well in terms of profits that the studio has announced that they are working on a Paranormal Activity 4. I hope they realize that going to the well too often can result in a dry bucket. Still they will have to stop sometime. Before video tapes it was 8 mil and 16 mil and before that, well you catch my drift.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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