The bottom line, for me, is this: I don't scare easily at horror films (that's one of the reasons I tend to pan them), but I watched Paranormal Activity 3 in a state of high anxiety.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
It ... brings fake-out jolts and humor into play.
Andy Webster - New York Times
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.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
"Paranormal Activity 3'' has no interest in art. It just wants to give you the willies with a minimum of gore and a maximum of camcorder dread, and it succeeds.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
There's something to be said for giving people what they want, but in genre movieland, that strategy droops into lazy cynicism quicker than you can say Saw 3D.
Mark Holcomb - Village Voice
There are only so many times bodies can be dragged out of frame and tables levitated before the biggest scare of all is the threat of tedium.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Still, cheap it may be, but it's not particularly graphic, so it's got that going for it. And in any case, scares are scares, even if they are cheap.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Inexplicably, there are people who still haven't had enough of these movies. The first was a nifty novelty. Now the appeal has worn threadbare.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Joost and Schulman sustain a consistent sense of dread, playing with our own fears of things that go bump in the night.
Adam Graham - Detroit News
It's not so much a movie as it is a cinematic cardio exam, with directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the guys who made "Catfish," pounding away again and again to see how much your heart can take.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Paranormal Activity 3 earns points for its low-key ability to keep viewers primed over long stretches to expect that something very bad, or even worse, may happen at any moment.
Joe Leydon - Variety
The shtick movie "Paranormal Activity 3" is the horror equivalent of vaudeville comedy: a little patter, a little pie in the face, repeat.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
"Paranormal" reveals itself for what it has become, the "Saw" of found video thrillers.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
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.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
For better or worse, this is more of the same, if creepier than it was the last time around.
William Goss - Film.com
While sometimes an unadulterated thrill to watch with an audience, it gets progressively dumber as it goes along.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
If the goal is to generate howls of both laughter and terror, Paranormal Activity 3 falls short. It's too by-the-numbers.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Although not exactly breaking any new ground with its by now all too familiar found-footage format, Paranormal Activity 3 hews to the formula in expertly crafted fashion, mustering up the requisite scares and then some.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
The filmmakers throw in a few cheesy scares: mom in a monster mask, a baby sitter jumping in front of a camera. But the rest is pretty freaking cool.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
Far and away the sharpest, most wildly aware film in the series.
Mark Olsen - Los Angeles Times
A few surprisingly effective set pieces that earn some legitimate scares, regardless of how familiar it's all starting to feel.
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.
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
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.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
Sustaining horror is what the Paranormal Activity movies are all about and in that sense, part 3 doesn't disappoint.
Benjo Colautti - We Got This Covered
A couple of hair-raising moments, a couple of legitimate jolts and some funny cheap ones.
Drips with tension, horror, and building suspense that explodes in to a mind blowing finale that you'll not soon forget.
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Paranormal Activity 3 doesn't reinvent the series' wheel but it definitely refines an already effective format.
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
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.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Paranormal Activity 3 delivers, and does it without gore or "look at me!" special effects.
Maitland McDonagh - 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.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
Delivers the clean, simple jolts and scares the series is known for.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
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.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
For me, it was a matter of diminishing returns on a product that wasn't very good to begin with.
John J. Puccio - 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.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Yes, it feels familiar, but they keep finding a way to make me nervous/scared.
Jeff Bayer - 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
James Kendrick - 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.
Brian Gibson - 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!
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
Visible for miles, the predictable turn of the VHS tape undermines a movie that's already weak in scariness.
John Wirt - 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.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
The Paranormal Activity saga continues in a prequel that covers much of the same ground as its predecessors...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Continues the broken/mixed family dynamic of the previous two films, but the characters here are more sharply drawn and more sympathetic.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Paranormal Activity 3 continues the spooky thrills in its exploration of a secular family haunted by evil.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Confounds the continuity of previous entries (according to the series' Internet fan base) and adds few new scares...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The formula is the same --- don't show too much, but scare the hell out of people by letting their imaginations run wild.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
... the third time, alas, is not the charm.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Sorry...ghosts dropping spoons just don't scare me anymore.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
It preys on our fear of the unknown. As soon as that 'unknown' is revealed by the end, you can't help but feel kind of insulted. Is that all there is? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Paranormal Activity 3 rarely feels like a "new" film, opting instead to frame old tricks in a new setting.
James Luxford - The National
The film is the best-shot - if the least scary - of the series.
Matt Glasby - Total Film
The slow-building, low-key creepiness finally explodes with a welcome rattling ingenuity.
Alan Jones - Radio Times
Not since [Halloween] has a horror franchise managed to squander all of its early potential in quite as few steps.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
See it if you enjoyed the other Paranormal Activity films. It is more of a Halloween treat than a trick, but only just.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
Paranormal Activity 3 is an effective and genuinely scary prequel-slash-threequel that effectively expands the story and won't disappoint fans of the first two films.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Aside from the fan-cam, 3 has little to offer: the camera is shakier and 2's ludicrous backstory is continued.
Ann Lewinson - Boston Phoenix
It isn't all that scary but the suspense keeps your eyes glued to the screen
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
If you rolled your eyes at the first two films, you won't like the third installment. But if you were scared before, you'll wet your pants during this one.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Paranormal Activity 3 continues to milk the formula of its predecessors, but also manages to breathe some new life into the franchise and maintain its trademark intensity.
Gary Dowell - Dark Horizons
PA3 not only delivers quality jolts in spades, it turns out to be much scarier than The Blair Witch Project.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
A fresh competitor for the title of "most-boring-horror-movie-ever," "Paranormal Activity 3" is a student film gone wrong.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
When the most innovative thing about the film is that the camera now oscillates, one can't help but scoff at the miniscule amount of creativity that has been drizzled into this Halloween cash grab.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
If you don't expect innovation from a part three, then this won't disappoint: it may be hokey, but the scares still work.
Kim Newman - Empire Magazine
As before, this third entry in the franchise brushes aside such fripperies as a complex, involving narrative and drills straight down into our most primal fears. The results are as nerve-jangling as ever.
Ian Berriman - SFX Magazine
It's back to the '80s as this found footage horror franchise hits the mark with demons and ghosts who shake and rattle the rambling house of spooky sisters Katie and Kristie.
Simon Weaving - Screenwize
Pushes up against the law of diminishing returns. The 'Paranormal Activity' series is basically a one-trick pony that's played its sleight-of-hand once too often.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
A palpably terrifying experience that will haunt you for days. It should be watched on the big screen in a crowded theater. Bring on number 4!
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
After the recent box-office failure of 'Apollo 18', 'Paranormal Activity 3' is still making hearts pop out with the same gimmick of "found footage" they've successfully used in the previous films.
Wilson Morales - BlackFilm.com
Bored now. 'Teddy Ruxpin is evil' would have been a more plausible explanation.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman didn't invent the Paranormal Activity formula, but they sure do spice it up!
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
What Paranormal Activity 3 still has is powerful inaction, extended nothing-happening moments that crank up tension.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Paranormal Activity 3, which parts audiences once again with their cash while refusing to move the series' mythology forward, will frustrate those expecting any sort of continuation from the last film, despite some decent scares.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Paranormal Activity 3 proves I was right in being freaked out by Teddy Ruxpin, so thank you Schulman and Joost for validating my fears.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Shows that if coming up with new magic tricks isn't an option, performing the old tricks with flair will suffice. For a while, anyway.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The new 'Activity' is dumb, strained and obvious. But you'll be scared all the same, and nothing else matters.
Christian Toto - What Would Toto Watch?
If it lacks the original's novelty value and sheer sense of surprise, it makes up for it with creative filmmaking, likeable (for once) characters, a healthy dash of humor and a couple of great scares.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
The activity is pretty normal in Paranormal Activity 3, at least relative to its predecessors.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
Same Crap, Different Decade.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Joost and Schulman's analog hack on the expectation of slow-burn scares is fun in short, concentrated bursts. But by the time cut-rate CGI and musty mythology force their way in, it abides by the same rickety revisionism that did in the "Saw" films.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
The flick improves upon the second films' problems, but doesn't live up to the fresh vibe of the original. I still jumped out of my seat and screamed like a little girl!
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
..silly, yet wildly entertaining amusement, as satisfying and regrettable as wolfing down an elephant ear before hopping on the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
If I'd wanted to spend so much time watching people sleeping, I could have been a train conductor, flight attendant or nurse in a different life.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
3 has the most likeable cast by far, some honest laughs and plenty of those patented Paranormal scares.
Peter Paras - E! Online
A taut horror ride with enough thrills, chills and gotcha moments to keep audiences asking for more.(Movie Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
It's a little more effective than its immediate predecessor, but its rehash of the same techniques indicates a franchise whose creativity is quickly being exhausted.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
I'm back in.
Dave White - Movies.com
Sadly, the time machine treatment does nothing to reenergize the formula, with this latest ghostly rampage practically a shot-for-shot remake of the previous pictures.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
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?
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Has enough jump-out-of-your-seat moments to make it worth a look if you're a fan of the franchise - and if that's primarily all you seek. A decent-but-unremarkable sequel to a landmark in the genre.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
If you hated the first two or loathe found footage films in general this won't change your mind but PA3 is a solid, mostly entertaining supernatural thriller.
Anthony O'Connor - FILMINK (Australia)
The big-money scares definitely pay their way, but so too do the many smaller, subtler janglings of the nerves.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
This third outing in the faux documentary/found footage, supernatural shocker series finally gets things right.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
The best recommendation I can make is that after seeing this one, I'm interested in seeing the other two.
Matt Neal - The Standard
The Paranormal Activity movies are built on fundamental horror concepts, and those fundamentals still hold.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
For sheer knee-jerk scares, Paranormal Activity 3 won't have any serious competition all year.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
I wasn't going to give Paranormal Activity 3 a very good review. Then I tried to sleep the night I saw it.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
One-ups both of the previous films in quality and quantity of its scares.
Two movies later, even die-hard supporters are going to find all this stuff dully familiar.
I... feel insulted... PA1 just about skated by on the shaky legs of a tale that didn't have quite enough to sustain it but did have some trifling novelty. PA3 doesn't even have that.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Paranormal Activity 3 doesn't quite inspire the same white-knuckle dread as previous instalments, but when you consider the current state of the horror genre at large (a veritable grave yard), it's still the funnest ride at the fair.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Exceedingly familiar and yet maddeningly effective.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
Spooky and scary - more unnerving and sinister this time 'round.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
the fear feels very real
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
Finally, some actual activity. The best addition is evidence that when life gets freaky, adults can be at least as scared as kids, if not more.
Matt Pais - RedEye
The prequel still has some decent ideas and a couple of jolts, but it also repeats creeps from the first two films, lowers itself to using cheap scares and uses the camera POV at times when no sane person would cover his face with a viewfinder.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It's remarkable the films haven't collapsed into witless repetition. But Paranormal Activity 3 actually is a scary movie.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
The more traditional haunted house feel and fresh focus should please diehards and pull in new fans-expect it to do brisk box office business during the Halloween season.
Kate Erbland - Boxoffice Magazine
Remains a gimmicky novelty as a horror series, but one that's more creatively durable than anyone could have reasonably expected.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Proves to be every bit as effective as the previous installments, providing a consistent level of tension that's aided by some solid performances and a few fresh surprises.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 feels the most like a real film, even though it sticks to the exhausted found footage format of the first two.
Good for a few old-school jumps and giggles, Paranormal Activity 3 evaporates once it's over like morning mist.
Alison Willmore - Movieline
Joost & Schulman inject the mythology with life, jam-packing it with heart-exploding scares...tension, and more importantly, payoffs.
Brad Miska - Bloody Disgusting
Paranormal Activity 3 defies all odds and delivers yet another hellish reason to be afraid of the dark.
Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton - Dread Central
While it lacks the narrative cohesion of its predecessors, it surpasses them in terms of tension and scares.
Chris Tilly - IGN Movies
Paranormal Activity 3 undercuts the unsettling groundwork laid by the first two films and takes the series in a disappointing, less-satisfying direction.
Jen Yamato - Movieline
It really is the biggest Paranormal Activity, if bigger minimalism is possible... The most paranormal of any Activity? Or the most activity in any Paranormal?
Fred Topel - CraveOnline
I like this series. I like the sort of horror it represents. I like the audiences it seems to attract, audiences that aren't typical horror audiences.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
an effective, crowd-pleasing horror film... but they should probably go out on a high note as a trilogy, rather than milking it to more and more disappointing returns.
Todd Gilchrist - The Playlist