I never expected this to be as good as it turned out to be. Do I want them to make a 4th one now? NOPE! But for an end to the series (I don't see where else they could take it) you could do far worse. Far, far, worse.
Acting/characters: One of the best things about this series is how normal the people and the settings are. If you picked a random spot on a map of America you would probably be close to millions of people who are just like this. The fact that you relate to them makes you care a whole lot more about them than any normal horror films bother to do these days. I've met people like this, I'm related to people like this (not exactly obviously but you get my point). And if I had to guess, most of you out there are too. That's what makes this film so effective. These people aren't morons with bodies chiseled into perfection. These people are just...people. That also (I imagine) would make them much easier too perform as and I think it shows. Also, and this is rare, I didn't mind the kids at all in the film. They added to the film in that perfect way because now there is more at stake with the house being haunted by a demon. In most horror films, you figure nothing is going to happen to the kids because who would do that? Well, here you aren't too sure. and boy does that pay off in terms of scares. 9/10
Plot: It's pretty much the same plot as the first film but with kids and this one is a prequel: Guy in the house thinks supernatural stuff is happening so he sets up cameras. It's pretty much just that for 80 some-odd minutes while the titular paranormal activities get more and more threatening. I know that I thought that this one would be positively horrible because I couldn't see how it wouldn't be merely a re-hash of stuff that the first two did. Well, the filmmakers did their very best to distance the techniques of this one from the first two. Boy did they do a great job. I mean really, they did a great job. because of the basic plot, a ton of the suspense and quality of the film revolves around camera techniques. They did some genius stuff with the cameras. Like the film as a whole, the thing that made the camera work so genius was the fact that it was so simple. It didn't require major special effects or multimillion dollar cameras. it just required a few normal cameras. It was brilliant. 9.5/10
Screenplay: from what I understand with this film, as with the others, there is a basic script but there is always room for improv in the film. I think that this works to perfection because it makes the dialogue and delivery so much more natural which add so much to the whole "these are just normal people" aspects of the film. The dialogue was so fluid and it didn't feel like any of it was forced at all. if you didn't know better you wouldn't think that it was just actors on a screen you would think that it is what it seems to be, real people that are actually being haunted by a demon. That is hard to pull off these days and too few people actually manage to pull it off. 9/10
Likableness: This movie was genuinely scary. It takes a lot to actually scare me and this one totally did that. 95% of suspense is the waiting for something scary to pop out. You are left to your imagination as to what is going to happen and it scares you. But it is also important that the actual scare pays off. These scares definitely did that. when I went to see it with my mother (we love watching horror movies together) the audience was packed with teenagers around my age. You could tell that everyone in the audience was having a lot of fun because we would get the pants scared off of us but we would be laughing because we were all having such a good time being scared. if more horror movies could pull that off then the horror movie world would be a better place. Was the movie flawless? Nope. But my enjoyment of it was at the maximum. I give likableness 10/10
Final score: 37.5/40 93% (N)
Tomatometer rating: 71%
Tomatometer rating if my review was added: 71%
TRIVIA TIME: 1. Towards the beginning of the film, Julie takes a picture of young Kristi standing in the driveway shortly before a group picture is taken. The photo being taken appears in both Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 as an indication that the demon has started haunting them.