Paranormal Activity 2: A Brilliantly Conceived, Yet Safe, Horror Sequel

22 10 2010

The first Paranormal Activity was a phenomenon. Making $108 million at the U.S. box office on a $15,000 budget, it was the surprise success of 2009. Now, the demon is back for Paranormal Activity 2, and filmmakers promise it won’t fall into the “horrible horror sequel” trap. Regardless, Paranormal Activity 2 will definitely dominate the box office this weekend, and will likely give Saw 3D a run for its money during Halloween weekend. WARNING! This review DOES CONTAIN SMALL SPOILERS! Here’s the breakdown:

Kristi and Dan welcome their new son, Hunter, to their home in Carlsbad, California. Dan’s daughter from his deceased wife, Ali, also lives with the family, as well as loyal dog, Abby. After their home is trashed in an apparent home invasion, Dan has security cameras installed throughout the house. These cameras document a chilling series of events, as evil begins to manifest itself in the house.

The Monkey: Just like the first movie, Paranormal Activity 2 knows what it’s good at and runs with it: building suspense. No horror movie can make an audience jump at the slam of a door or the creak of a stair like these movies. Is it kinda cheesy, kinda a cheap scare? Yeah…but it works!

The addition of the security camera footage was an inspired idea by the filmmakers. It allows for a more plausible explanation of how all this footage was recorded, and cuts out a lot of the shaky camera work that can make audiences queasy.

But the best thing this “sequel” has going for it, is how it was tied to the first movie. I could be wrong, but I have to think this movie was written after the first movie became such a success. With that in mind, the way the writers managed to seamlessly integrate this story with the first installment is nothing short of brilliant. Paranormal Activity 2 is really more like Paranormal Activity 0.5 + Paranormal Activity 1.5…it’s a prequel AND a sequel. I’ll leave it at that; don’t want to give too much away. But suffice it to say, fans of the first will love how this second installment adds to the mythology and opens up a whole new can of worms.

The Weasel: Unfortunately, Paranormal Activity 2 really doesn’t stand alone. It’s more of an addition to the first movie. And while the filmmakers took what worked from the first (building suspense to a fever pitch) and applied it to the second, they left it at that. They didn’t build any further on the foundation of the first, but remained content within the safety of what they do best. I was hoping this movie would step out of its comfort zone, that it would deliver the next level of scary, the next level of nerve-fraying suspense…but Paranormal Activity 2 was pretty much, beat-for-beat, like its predecessor.

A great horror “sequel” that deserves its inevitable box office success. It’s just too bad the creativity of the story couldn’t have been applied some more creative scares.

3.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Was Paranormal Activity 2 as scary as Paranormal Activity? Do you think there will be a Paranormal Activity 3? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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2 responses

25 10 2010
CMrok93

Works well with its scares, and great deal of suspense. Almost better than the first, but yet, too rushed by the end. Nice post, check out my review when you can!

26 10 2010
Dustin

Thanks for the comment! And yeah, totally agree…then ending was rushed…what the hell happened to the baby? I’m sure they’ll try to make this part of the 3rd one…I guess we’ll see!

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