Paranormal Activity 2
Horror (Action, Drama, Thriller)
Running Time: 91 minutes
Starring: Molly Ephraim, Sprague Grayden, Brian Boland
Directed By: Tod Willams
Rating: 4 out of 10
A family sets up security cameras around their house after a break in only to discover they might not be home alone.
There is nothing worse in the movie industry than an uninspired sequel. A surprise hit first movie has everyone scrambling to cash in on the monetary windfall. What usually happens is the fans pay the price both literally and figuratively, and it is no different with this film. Paranormal Activity 2 is actually a prequel to the first film. It follows the story of the Rey family and it takes place only a few weeks prior to the first movie. The Rey family sets up a series of cameras after a break in, only to find out things maybe more evil then they can ever imagine.
I was looking forward to this film as I was very impressed with the first. They also took a few years in between the first and the second movies, making me have the impression that they wanted to do this movie right, instead of just hearing the cash register sound. This film represented most of what is wrong with sequels, and offered nothing new from the first. The film starts off and we are treated to the usual typical banality as the family goes about their daily lives. The film doesn’t really get going until the family’s house gets broken into, and they set up security cameras all around the house. So it is a plausible explanation as to why the cameras are there. Obviously you need to give a lot of leeway for the camera work, as there is no reason for a camera in the baby’s room, and there is no reason to be carrying a Handy cam around everywhere, especially when you might be attacked. I usually like this style of film, but I found the movie bounced around from camera to camera for no reason, way too many times for my liking. I also found the film way too similar to the first in every aspect. Sure the venue is a little bit bigger and there are a few more cameras, and sure there are a couple more people and a dog involved in this one, but that doesn’t change the frights. What was new and eerily fresh in the first film, seems played out in this one. Sure this film will make you jump when something crashes to the ground unexpectedly, but it never scares you like the first movie did. Having to sit through the same unexplained noises, the tired explanations of what is happening around the house, the apparition’s penchant for ridiculous pranks, and ultimately the same exact formatted movie is hard to take.
The Rey family is not the worst to follow in a film like this. I found they seemed generally scared and emotionally invested at all the right moments. They are not hard roles to pull off as the camerawork adds most of the realism for them. Of course in a lame plot twist, the Rey’s nanny believes in and dabbles in the occult, only adding to the films plausibility misery.
Bottom line is, no one should be blown away by this film if they have seen the first. There is something in the house that wishes the Rey family harm,and it is up to them how to deal with its torment. Sure it answers a couple of storyline questions from the first, but never really captures its own identity. Adding in a baby seems gimmicky and the scares usually come when you are expecting them. Even when the film has the odd moment of hitting that escalated terror level, an almost identical swinging chandelier from the first film is a painful reminder that this film lacks scope. This finished product seemed rushed, and comes off as uninspired, right from the start to the very end.
Director Tod Williams clearly abides by the old adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it attitude. His film just never gets to the same level as the first. Too many cameras and lack of a clear vision seems to doom this movie from the start. Not only did this film not further this franchise, it undoubtedly set it back big time. Failing to captivate a huge built in audience is a massive fail and that is a sad thing.
I cannot recommend this film and while the passionate fan will watch anyways the casual fan should give this a pass.
T Factor + If you are easily scared then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like original material for your films then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Grave Encounters, Poltergeist.