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Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)


Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 117
Fresh: 80
Rotten: 37

Critics Consensus: While the jolts and thrills are undeniably subject to the diminishing returns that plague most horror sequels, Paranormal Activity 3 is a surprisingly spine-tingling treat.

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: While the jolts and thrills are undeniably subject to the diminishing returns that plague most horror sequels, Paranormal Activity 3 is a surprisingly spine-tingling treat.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 73,789



Movie Info

The Paranormal Activity franchise continues with this third outing from Paramount Pictures. Oren Peli and Jason Blum return to produce the highly secretive feature, with Catfish's directing duo of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman taking on the helming duties. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

R (for some violence, language, brif sexuality and drug use)
Mystery & Suspense , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Michael R. Perry , Oren Peli , Christopher Landon
In Theaters:
Jan 24, 2012
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Paranormal Activity 3

All Critics (117) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (37) | DVD (6)

Joost and Schulman sustain a consistent sense of dread, playing with our own fears of things that go bump in the night.

Full Review… | October 21, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

If you haven't seen the first two movies, why are you watching this? And if you have seen the first two movies, why do you need to watch this?

Full Review… | October 21, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Series creator Oren Peli and his conscripts have managed to do it again, but you have to wonder how far they can continue to push this found-footage angle.

Full Review… | October 21, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The shtick movie "Paranormal Activity 3" is the horror equivalent of vaudeville comedy: a little patter, a little pie in the face, repeat.

Full Review… | October 21, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

This third Paranormal is a prequel that occasionally goes off the rails but also offers more laughs and somewhat more character development than the previous installments.

Full Review… | October 20, 2011
USA Today
Top Critic

It ... brings fake-out jolts and humor into play.

Full Review… | October 20, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

The latest installment isn't quite as terrifying as the second, but it's still extremely creepy and engrossing and everything you'd want in a 21st-century nightmare maker.

Full Review… | February 28, 2014

I just spent the whole movie covering my eyes, opening them right before what I knew was going to happen happened ... and then shutting them again and curling up. These movies, man. They get me every time.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Sustaining horror is what the Paranormal Activity movies are all about and in that sense, part 3 doesn't disappoint.

Full Review… | February 11, 2013
We Got This Covered

A couple of hair-raising moments, a couple of legitimate jolts and some funny cheap ones.

Full Review… | December 31, 2012
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Drips with tension, horror, and building suspense that explodes in to a mind blowing finale that you'll not soon forget.

Full Review… | December 23, 2012
Cinema Crazed

Paranormal Activity 3 doesn't reinvent the series' wheel but it definitely refines an already effective format.

Full Review… | October 2, 2012

There really just aren't any scares to be had here. Even people who normally find themselves scared at the smallest "boo" will find themselves drifting off less than halfway through the film.

Full Review… | September 19, 2012

Paranormal Activity 3 delivers, and does it without gore or "look at me!" special effects.

Full Review… | September 11, 2012
Film Journal International

In the moments that count, those silent wolf-hour compositions of gathering dread, the franchise has earned a place of pride in horror history.

Full Review… | April 30, 2012

Delivers the clean, simple jolts and scares the series is known for.

Full Review… | April 6, 2012

Delves far more into the mythology of the series, which may render the picture less scary to some, but there's still enough thrills and chills to keep most audiences thoroughly freaked.

Full Review… | January 29, 2012

For me, it was a matter of diminishing returns on a product that wasn't very good to begin with.

Full Review… | January 12, 2012
Movie Metropolis

You don't go to horror movies for story. You go for sensation, to be moved. Paranormal Activity 3 not only gets that, it also asks you to get it, to be aware of how you're being moved, and your part in the moving.

Full Review… | December 7, 2011

Yes, it feels familiar, but they keep finding a way to make me nervous/scared.

Full Review… | November 14, 2011
The Scorecard Review

given the increasing familiarity (some might say "exhaustion") of these aesthetic devices, it is almost unavoidable that Paranormal Activity 3 will feel like a slight letdown

Full Review… | November 13, 2011
Q Network Film Desk

The tension is slowly bled out, the metacommentary on movies' phantom power is eerie, and the directors capture a creepiness in the sleepy, after-hour spaces of home.

Full Review… | November 11, 2011
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

"Paranormal Activity 3" the best in the bunch. If you are ready for a scare and maybe a sleepless night check out this edition and be prepared for some unanswered questions and a few new answers!

Full Review… | November 4, 2011
Entertainment Spectrum

Visible for miles, the predictable turn of the VHS tape undermines a movie that's already weak in scariness.

Full Review… | November 2, 2011
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

It's everything you expect -- bad writing, bad acting, bad direction, dull characters and long stretches of boredom punctuated by sudden jolts.

Full Review… | November 1, 2011
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The Paranormal Activity saga continues in a prequel that covers much of the same ground as its predecessors...

Full Review… | October 31, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Paranormal Activity 3

Going even deeper into its mythology, the third movie is certainly sacrificing the things which made the second so scary to develop a more interesting story. By the end of this movie my teeth were clenched together so hard that my jaw was hurting. Pure terror and dread up until a spine chilling climax make this movie the most effective, although not the scariest.

Nikhil N.
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

It would have been a better film had it not been made as "Found Footage," because there is real ingenuity in the way this prequel scares its audience and expands on the mythology, but the drawbacks to this style, such as long drawn out periods of nothing happening and limited perspectives, are now at their most evident.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


The same, tired tricks are used, but these do not take away from the film's ability to engage. It is in fact more involved than its predecessors, and delivers just as many, if not more, scares. The acting, in typical Paranormal Activity fashion, is raw and believable. The found-footage genre may be overused at this point, but it works well in this film, and helps create the required suspense. The plot twist was completely unexpected and brilliantly developed. This film is a heart-pounding, entertaining chapter with more thrills and chills than most horror films in recent memory.


The "Paranormal Activity" series began with an incredibly original premise, followed by a jolting sequel that met all expectations. This time, we go even further back in time to see how how the "activity" all began when the lead actresses of the first two films were little girls. The first half of the film seems to begin just like the others, in terms of subtle jokes, but we are lead to believe that none of the people have been exposed to any of this "activity" before. This is a great change of pace and when the first night of "activity" begins, you are much more engaged than you were for the first sequel. The fact that the scariest part of the second film took place in the babies crib, is insane, because we are now given an entire story based on little girls. The horror is fantastic, providing much needed suspense that the second one lost a bit of, while throwing in jump scares that are surprisingly not laughable for once. I have come to realize that these films try to traumatize you into going to bed at night, and for what I feel when I walked out of the cinema, it definitely does it's job; However, I have been through the first two films, so I know what to expect. "Paranormal Activity 3" has clever camera angles, much appreciated comic relief, and a back story that will have any fan on the edge of their seat. This film lives up to all it's hype, surpassing the second, but not quite reaching the greatness of the original. Still, I love watching the progression of these films into the franchise it one day will become. This is a great instalment!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Paranormal Activity 3 Quotes

Fuckin' potato dick.
– Submitted by Danny M (2 years ago)
I'm making a sandwich!
– Submitted by Wesley L (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Anthony R (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Robbie G (2 years ago)
Did you hear that? Ah!
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

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