The Paranormal Activity franchise is coming to an end, and it’s doing so with an extra dimensional bang. While the first five installments of the horror series were exclusively presented in 2D, the big finale - Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - kicks things up a notch by offering to scare audiences by showing spiritual activity with a bit of extra depth thrown into the mix. But is it actually worth schilling out the extra money for a 3D ticket?

You can read my full review of the final Paranormal Activity chapter right here, but as we do with every newly released 3D film, what you’ll find below is a full breakdown of the experience to determine exactly the best way to see the movie on the big screen. To 3D or not to 3D is the question, so read on for the answer…

Fit Score
3/5
The horror genre and 3D certainly has a great history together, dating back decades and decades, but anyone who has seen a Paranormal Activity movie can understand why it isn’t really a prime fit for the technology. Not only has it been shown that hand-held photography and the extra dimension are a poor mix just for health reasons (more on that later), but most of the shots in the movie come from cameras sitting on top of tripods, and that’s not exactly the most dynamic way to take advantage of 3D.

Planning & Effort Score
4/5
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension wasn’t filmed with 3D cameras, but it actually did develop a rather impressive use for the technology. Most of the movie is actually in 2D, with the exception being all of the action that’s viewed through a special camera introduced in the plot that allows a person to see spiritual activity. This more sparing use of depth actually does have the effect of allowing the 3D to pop more, and the film doesn’t create the same kind of visual fatigue that many other 3D titles do. It’s a strategy that more features should actually use, and it would be nice to see more of it.

Before the Window Score
2/5
You’d think that a 3D horror movie would fully embrace the more gimmick-y side of 3D – regularly throwing things out at the audience, but Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension both does it rarely and largely ineffectively. So many of the movie’s jump scares are giant blobs of CGI leaping out at the camera, but because it all happens so fast there’s no opportunity to create the sense that things are popping out of the screen. There is one particularly full Before The Window moment towards the end that earns the film one extra point in this department, but for the most part it is subpar.

Beyond the Window Score
3/5
As mentioned earlier, most of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension isn’t actually in 3D, and there aren’t exactly big, sweeping landscape shots that can present a sense of depth – but when the movie does utilize its 3D style, it doesn’t look half bad. There’s a heavy utilization for bad CGI, but the film does do some cool things, such as creating a deep space that’s just sitting in the middle of a living room.

Brightness Score
4/5
This category can be a bit more subjective for audiences, as different theaters are going to project 3D movies in different ways, but I will say that the brightness wasn’t a negative factor during my screening of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Despite the fact that the story largely unfolds during the night and with low levels of light, I never really got the sense that my glasses were overly muddying the screen or that things were hard to make out because the image was too dark. In optimal conditions, you shouldn’t expect to have a brightness problem with this film.

Glasses Off Score
3/5
The specialized use of 3D in Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension makes this category a little harder to score than most cases, but I’m going to do my best anyway. Because most of the movie is actually in 2D, the truth is that you don’t actually have to be wearing 3D glasses for a good chunk of the runtime, but I did work in a few glasses-off tests during the movie’s extra-dimensional moments and liked what I saw. When viewed without lenses, 3D films reveal their artificially created layers of depth, and I saw many whenever I would peek over my frames during the film’s big action.

Audience Health Score
5/5
Remember what I was saying earlier about 3D and hand-held camera work being a bad mix? Well, I’m very happy to report that Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension effectively dodges that bullet. While bad, unfocused 3D can leave audiences feeling headachy and nauseous, the film’s more sparse use of the technology makes it easier on the eyes and avoids any bad repercussions. I walked out of my screening feeling just as healthy as I did going in.

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