Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 3 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 19, 2011
    91
    The bottom line, for me, is this: I don't scare easily at horror films, but I watched Paranormal Activity 3 in a state of high anxiety.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Oct 20, 2011
    90
    Paranormal Activity 3, the latest installment in the low-budget horror franchise, is far and away the sharpest, most wildly aware film in the series.
  3. Reviewed by: Andy Webster
    Oct 20, 2011
    80
    "3" introduces a camera affixed to a fan panning slowly back and forth, offering now-you-see-it-now-you-don't tableaus in the kitchen and foyer. (Of course we never see who's editing this footage, and the story's cameramen keep dying off.) It also brings fake-out jolts and humor into play.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Oct 20, 2011
    80
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Oct 19, 2011
    80
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 20, 2011
    75
    Paranormal Activity 3 has one new technical wrinkle, and it's brilliant: In addition to the cameras in the bedroom, Smith mounts a third to the base of a rotating electric fan, so it pans back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen and back again.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 20, 2011
    75
    Co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman cut their teeth on 2010's glib social-media mystery "Catfish,'' and since they're clever boys, they make the most of the series' new toy. Otherwise, Paranormal Activity 3 is almost identical to, and just as eerily effective as, the first two films in its alternation of cheesy "boo!'' tactics and genuine scares.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 20, 2011
    75
    The films are not works of genius. They are, however, wily reminders of the virtues of restraint when you're out for a scare.
  9. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 19, 2011
    70
    More of the same, using the found-footage tricks the first two films employed to try to shock the audience. But man, are those some good tricks.
  10. Reviewed by: Kate Erbland
    Oct 19, 2011
    70
    The more traditional haunted house feel and fresh focus should please diehards and pull in new fans.
  11. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Oct 19, 2011
    67
    More funhouse spook show than actual horror movie but, like the black magic roller coaster ride it's predicated on, it has a startling amount of jolts, frissons, and downright freak-outs to qualify as the best teen date movie of the month if not the year. Boo. Scary.
  12. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Oct 19, 2011
    65
    Where Paranormal Activity 3's weak points show are in the unbelievable silliness of its characters.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 20, 2011
    63
    Paranormal Activity 3 delivers similarly eerie moments, though long stretches go by where nothing truly ominous occurs.
  14. Reviewed by: A. A. Dowd
    Oct 21, 2011
    60
    Like its predecessors, Paranormal Activity 3 demands to be seen with a crowd: Being able to hear outbursts of nervous laughter and irrepressible panic ripple through a packed house is the reason movies like this exist.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Oct 2, 2011
    60
    Much like its predecessors, Paranormal Activity 3 is a slow-building, stealthily creepy supernatural thriller that takes a teasingly indirect approach to generating suspense and escalating dread.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 21, 2011
    50
    I fully expect Paranormal Activity 3 to be box office gold. But it's barely worth two stars, let alone two cents. As for future followups, I offer this plea: STOP!
  17. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 21, 2011
    50
    The first 45 minutes of this film feel like far too much normal and not nearly enough para.
  18. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 20, 2011
    50
    The scares (if you want to call them that) are still there - one "boo!" moment after another, strung together like a breadcrumb trail through a labyrinth. So if that's all you want from a Halloween release like Paranormal Activity 3, you are the perfect audience member.
  19. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 19, 2011
    50
    This Paranormal doesn't tamper with the formula that worked in the first two films. It lacks the "money" moments that those films delivered and ends with a finale that is downright conventional. "Paranormal" reveals itself for what it has become, the "Saw" of found video thrillers.
  20. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 2, 2011
    50
    Paranormal Activity 3 hardly adds anything new to the situation; instead, it pretends to fill a gap while basically just heaping on one calculated "boo!" after the other.
  21. Reviewed by: Mark Holcomb
    Oct 21, 2011
    40
    The further this series drifts into corporate-franchise territory and away from Peli's inventively cheap, slyly psychosexual conception, the more reasons there are to just stay away.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 20, 2011
    40
    A few really weird things happen during Paranormal Activity 3, though unfortunately, they have nothing to do with being frightened.
  23. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Oct 21, 2011
    38
    Paranormal Activity 3 just uses new technology to deliver the same old ghosts-and-goblins hokum.
  24. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 21, 2011
    38
    The shtick movie Paranormal Activity 3 is the horror equivalent of vaudeville comedy: a little patter, a little pie in the face, repeat.
  25. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 20, 2011
    25
    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.
User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 238 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 79
  2. Negative: 13 out of 79
  1. Oct 22, 2011
    7
    Most horror movies are a bore. They try to frighten the audience with blood and guts and unstoppable killing machines. The Paranormal Activity series has taken the low-tech "bump in the night" approach and made it work for three films. While I enjoyed it, I believe this is the weakest of the three. While it is gifted at building tension it doesn't provide as satisfying a payoff as the two previous films. The story also gives very little attention to the reason behind the mayhem. I would have preferred a more complete explanation for all the bumps in the night. Even with these complaints, Paranormal Activity 3 is far better than any of the Saw films and 99 percent of all the other so-called horror flicks. That's why I gave it a 7. Full Review »
  2. Oct 24, 2011
    2
    Ok im s sucker for reality based horror movies. When the 1st one came out, I could not sleep for a week. It was great. I love it when as movie has that much of a scare effect. The 2nd one came out and I was literally praying to god in the cinema to get me out of here, again loved it. The 3rd one I was like ...ok where are the scenes from the trailer. I am not lying people when I say the scariest scenes are in the TRAILER and not the MOVIE. The movie is missing approx 7-8 scenes. This is not acceptable and I feel like its a Marketing tactic to attract cinema seats to be sold and for us to buy the DVD. NOT GOOD Full Review »
  3. Oct 21, 2011
    9
    Let me premise this with the fact that scary movies DO NOT have an effect on me. I enjoy them, but hardly does it get a response out of me.

    PA3 changed this for me. I had preconceived notions based on what was in the trailers. The trailers are very misleading. Do not assume you know what will be in the movie based on the trailers. You won't really see anything that was in them.

    The movie was great at creating tension and causing me to tense up enough that when something happened I'd freak out. The ending could have been better, but overall this was a great film. A definite must see for those who enjoy horror films!
    Full Review »