Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment
It never ceases to amaze me how far the Paranormal Activity franchise has come. When the original appeared many years ago, sequels were unthinkable. No one could ever recapture that crazy lightning in a bottle, right? We’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. Paranormal Activity 3 is every bit as good and scary as the original, and that, my friends, is no easy feat.
These movies have a huge fan base, and rightly so. They always give the audience just enough information to get them by while leaving many things open to interpretation. That’s the main reason why when these flicks come to home video in unrated extended cuts, fans are hungry to see what’s new or what’s been explained. Does this new cut of Paranormal Activity 3 bring anything fresh to the table? Are there any more clues for the next film? Clocking in ten solid minutes longer than its theatrical cousin, the answer is both yes and, as always, playfully no.
For those not in the know, Paranormal Activity 3 is a prequel to Paranormal Activity 2, which was for the most part a prequel to the original Paranormal Activity. The setting of this third chapter is 1988, and in it we’re introduced to Julie (Bittner) and Dennis (Smith), the proud parents of young Katie (Csengery) and Kristi Rey (Brown) (the child counterparts of their adult selves). Here we get to see, to borrow a line from the movie’s one-sheet, “how the activity began.” For my in-depth film review of Paranormal Activity 3, click here. This review is only going to cover the information we know that you’re looking for: the new stuff and how it affects the film and the franchise.
One of the most beloved characters in this latest chapter of the lives of one really screwed up family is no doubt Dennis’ assistant, Randy (Ingram), and the good news is we get more of him. The couple of added scenes of Randy and Dennis together further flesh out what was already a rich and believable relationship and, in turn, make these two friends all the more likable. But this unrated version isn’t all sunshine and roses by any means. Several new scenes have been added back into the film that we saw glimpses of in the film’s numerous trailers, along with some never-before-seen goodies. The highlights include being able to see what happens when the girls engage in a game of “Bloody Mary” and also an ultra spooky scene with Kristi Rey that adds some real payoff to a moment in the theatrical release when the little girl was playing with the evil presence, known here as Toby, in the middle of the night.
The ending remains exactly the same; however, if you use the slow motion feature on your DVD or Blu-ray player to advance frames one-at-a-time, within the static before the end credits, there’s a single frame of film that depicts Dennis and Julie’s bedroom catching fire, starting with the bed. This frame is present in the theatrical cut as well. I only mention it because now you can see it via pause. Significance? Clue for Part 4? That’s anyone’s guess.
As always, in terms of the Blu-ray and DVD, of course the picture and sound quality favor high definition, but DVD owners don’t have anything to worry about either. With a movie like this, the rawer it looks, the better.
When it comes to special features, once again we’re left with a very skimpy package, which seems to be par for the course with this franchise. The lost scenes (though hysterical) are pretty much nothing more than Dennis jump-scaring Julie and a public access trailer for Dennis’ videography business.
This new cut of the film feels really good and plays exceptionally well, piling on a few more laughs as well as a fresh batch of new spine-tingling spookery. If you liked Paranormal Activity 3 in theatres, you’ll love it at home. Except of course when you wake up in the middle of the night because you – for whatever reason – now hear every single noise your house is making as if it were being amplified by the loudest speaker set in the world. Still, that’s half the fun! Bring on Part 4!
Blu-ray Special Features
DVD Special Features
4 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5