Entertainment » Movies

Paranormal Activity 2

by Padraic Maroney
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Oct 22, 2010
A whole lotta spooky goin’ on: Paranormal 2 stays true to the original
A whole lotta spooky goin’ on: Paranormal 2 stays true to the original  (Source:Paramount Pictures)

When Paranormal Activity was released last year, a horror phenomenon was created for the first time since the beginning of the Saw series. The low-budget, low-expectations ghost story slowly creeped into theaters as people demanded it be shown in their cities. To date, the film has grossed almost $200 million dollars worldwide. Any film that has success like that is bound to have a sequel. Just in time for Halloween, Paranormal Activity 2 is being released, and the producers aren't meddling with their formula.

Hollywood learned a valuable lesson with The Blair Witch Project and its sequel, which strayed completely from anything that even resembled the first film. Audiences don't do well with change. Heeding that rule, PA2 sticks closely to the first film in both style and format, with changes occurring only to up the ante this time around. The two movies are actually intertwined to the point that some young enterprising film student will probably go and edit them together into one opus in the near future.

From the trailer--from which very little footage actually made it into the film--you can tell that the entire film revolves around baby Hunter. Things start when the family, mom Kristi, her husband and his daughter from a previous marriage, come home to what looks like a break-in... only nothing of value was taken. Shaken, Dad has security cameras installed through the house so that nothing can happen without them being able to see it. Within a few nights, the women believe there's something otherworldly going on, which the man of the house refuses to believe.

You wouldn't it know it, but both the writer and director had nothing to do with the original film. Yet, both the tone and continuity of the first film seamlessly flow into the second chapter. Writer Michael R. Perry is able to efficiently work in both Katie and Micah from the first film for appearances without it seeming cheap or a gimmick. It's almost like seeing an old friend when Micah comes for a visit.

Where the first film faltered is that you got to know the characters too well, leading for a slow build-up that left everything going until almost the end of the film to finally pick up. You get to know these characters, too, but it's part and parcel of the story.

It's also no small stroke of genius to use the security cameras as the main camera angles for the film. By doing this, PA2 distinguishes itself from its predecessor while also maintaining a "found footage" style. The surveillance cameras themselves give off an unsettling feeling as the audience is looking down on the family, as if we, too, are an ominous third party in the house.
As with many of the films in this sub horror genre, the ending creeps up on you and before you can finish screaming, it's already over. It's a flaw with the genre and PA2 doesn't try to step outside of the box here, especially since the ending of the original is what shocked everyone.

Again letting the silence speak more than the actual dialogue, PA2 is able to create and maintain an atmosphere that most horror movies and thrillers are missing nowadays. Throughout the film, you will be sitting on the edge of your seat, trying to anticipate what'll happen next. The sudden slamming of a door or an abrupt power outage will still make you jump, but it may not hold the same shock value that it did when something happened in the original because audiences are a little wiser this time around. However, with a slightly higher budget (reportedly in the $3 million dollar neighborhood, up from the bargain basement budget of $15,000 for the original), Williams and Perry were allowed a little more wiggle room for some cool effects.

Paranormal Activity 2

Info

Runtime :: 91 mins
Release Date :: Oct 22, 2010
Language :: English
Country :: United States



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