'Paranormal Activity 2' Movie Review

Paranormal Activity 2
by Jesse Miller

Given that the original fright fest made a hefty amount at the Box Office, notably out of its low budget, it seemed inevitable that a sequel was on its way. Sure enough, a year later, PART II in the series arrives - but is it just a lifeless rehash or is it worth the journey?

Paranormal Activity 2 acts as both a quasi-prequel and a sequel, following the relatives of first film's victim, Katie, as they too soon realize something is mucking around about their house. When they come home from shopping one day, the family finds their lovely home absolutely trashed - save for two untouched rooms: the newly-born Hunter and the downstairs basement. Creepy, right?

After contacting the police and finding nothing stolen, the happy-go-lucky family goes about setting up surveillance around the house just in case the perpetrators come back. Commence the jump fest. This is where the film excels best out of everything it offers - it forces the audience to gaze upon the image of the pool or the empty living room or the dog growling at some unseen force in the infant's room and then BAM - how's the weather up there?

You may see the jumps coming - in fact, anyone not looking for a good scare will see right through the set-ups, but as far as the scares go in regards to the craft, it's well executed and with Tod Williams taking the helm from original director Oren Peli, it's a seamless creative change.

Williams crafts some good scares for the most part but when the going gets tough and really demonic, the film occasionally steps into self-parody with the material. That three people wrote the script astonishes me, as the story seems ever so thin and vague.

There is a tiny bit of expansion on the overall mythology but even that feels like it was borrowed out of every other bad demonic film. However, I will say for all the poor execution in this department, the fact that it ties the story into the timeline of the original film, thus making you view the original film in a new light, is pretty cool.

Not a lot can be said about the new characters and acting of the film. They are written as ordinary people and are effectively acted that way by the cast so they come off as just a plain family.

Bottom line is: Paranormal Activity 2 is pretty much a rehash of the same scares that made the original so effective, albeit with new characters and a new layer to the mystery that connects with the first film. Strip the film apart and you have a fairly one-dimensional story - but throw in the well-executed jump scares and you have a fun 100 minutes with a few wonderfully creepy jumps and reveals.

Let's hope that when the going really gets tough in the upcoming third film, the demon is a little bit more creative with the household and its inhabitants. Which is another good point to make - why does the demon waste time slamming doors and opening cupboards night after night? Why not go for the jugular and be done with it?

Oh, that's right…because the film would be over in 10 seconds. But wouldn't that make it a fantastic 10 seconds?

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