Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) Review

9 out of 10 Skulls
Written by: TerrorCorner   

I'm not going to lie, when it comes to sequals, I tend to lower my expectations since I've found that seldom are sequals as good as the first movie.  When I heard that they were doing a second "Paranormal Activity" movie, I was hesitant.  I wondered what exactly could they to add to what came before- especially since one of the main characters was dead, and the other had disappeared.

Well, my reservations were unfounded, because "Paranormal Activity 2" not only added onto the previous story, while maintaining the primary rule of the previous film- all of the action is to be captured by primarily stationary home camera.

Krisit and Dan have just had their home broken into and trashed- the only room untouched is that of their little boy, Hunter.  To secure their home, they have six cameras installed through out the house, including Hunter's room.  Soon, strange sounds start to be heard, and objects start falling without explanation.  The housekeeper's warnings are ignored and fired.  As things escalate, Dan's daughter, Ali thinks she discovers the cause... a cause possibily relating to why no male children had been born to the family since the 1930's, and to a haunting that Kristi and her sister (Katie from the first movie) experienced as children... and promises to get worse...

This movie is a smartly done prequal to "Paranormal Activity".  While maintaining the concept of "found footage", they manage to expand the scope of the story by ultilizing the idea of security cameras.  This allows them more freedom to move the story from location to location within the house.  It also gives them more opportunities to give be creative with where and when they portray the paranormal activity.  I really liked how they started each "night" with the same sequence of cameras.  It made me feel as if I was sorting through the cameras myself to piece together the events of the movie.

The story, though following the same general flow of the original managed to still be interesting, and add more flavor to the first one.  They managed to blend the events of "Paranormal Activity" into this film deftly, creating a unified whole of the two.  Neither film is fast paced, but builds creepily to its climax.  As with the first one, the dialogue feels natural, and makes you come to care about the characters involved.  My only complaint is the character of Dan was a bit of a douche.

If anything, the paranormal activity that appears in this movie is even more subtle and plausible than the first one.  Two scenes in particular stick out in my mind.  The first is when Kristi picks Hunter up out of his crib, and investigates a noise in the joining bathroom.  As they leave the camera shot, the mobile over the crib starts turning by itself... and stops when they re-enter the shot.  The other is also in Hunter's bedroom.  Kristi is trying to get Hunter to look into the hand held video camera.  The closet door behind her is closed... but when they go back to that shot, it's open.

As with the first movie, you need to keep your eyes open to catch some of the stuff that occurs on the screen.  The scene with closet door, I actually had to watch again to notice it.  The wider view of the camera gives the director more room to play "hide and seek" with the paranormal activity.  You're drawn into trying to analyse the screen to see the spooky details.  Of course, there are some "big scares" as well- especially near the end.  I would have to say that the scene in the kitchen was one of the best "jump scares" I've ever seen, and there are a couple more decent ones as well after that.

Even though a person can predict what'll happen in this movie, you're still drawn into the story and the footage shown before you.  Whenever I watch this movie alone in the dark, I'll be trying to ignore the bumps in the night...

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