Paranormal Activity 2

14 Nov

Title: Paranormal Activity 2
Tod Williams
Michael R. Perry, Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst, based on the story by Michael R. Perry and the characters by Oren Peli
Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Brian Boland, Sprague Grayden, Molly Ephraim, Tim Clemens
MPAA Rating:
R, some language and brief violent material
91 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:

When Paranormal Activity exploded into theaters last year it caused a huge roar from horror-loving audiences, the film was sort of the successor to The Blair Witch Project. Paranormal Activity was a film made for pretty much nothing at $15,000 that presented a very scary premise in the style of a documentary, using “found tapes” that illustrated what went down in the infamous house, and that was very well-received by audiences, making nearly $200 million worldwide. That amount of money on that amount of investment made it a given for a sequel, much like it did for The Blair Witch Project, which had a successor in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, a film that came with a heftier $15 million price tag and that didn’t even get to $50 million at the box office, a whopping $200 million less than its low-budget predecessor.

Now, for Paranormal Activity 2 even though the budget was indeed bigger than for the first one, it wasn’t the $15 million given to Blair Witch 2, but instead a more modest $3 million. And this film was actually good, and is actually making money, already standing at $145 million and with many more to come. So yes, Paranormal Activity 2 is the low-budget horror sequel that worked, it’s not innovative in the way the first one seemed, but it still has a very effective premise that makes for some great scares, and, quality-wise, it’s on par with the original one.

Even when absolutely nothing is going on you can be scared, the silence can be just as horrible a foe as any paranormal being around, a tactic Paranormal Activity 2 uses to its utmost advantage. As I said, the first one was really innovative and this one just rides on that one’s bandwagon, and that’s just as fine, because with the bigger cast this one has, and the larger amount of money, this one adds new tricks to the repertoire, and they really work. That german shepherd especially, he can be really creepy in this one.

But yes, this one makes the most of the larger budget as we see from the different point of views we get, we have the handheld cameras, and the security cameras, and even though we do get much more in this front the whole aesthetic from the first one is left intact, and it still feels like the same film. It even feels like the same film story-wise, because the makers of this one were really smart at basing this one around the timeline of the first film, having the Katie character from the first film back as the sister of this movie’s main female character, that kudos to the first film I thought was done very well.

What’s very good about Paranormal Activity 2 is that, much like the first one, it plays so much on every person’s voyeuristic needs. The fact that you see all of this like it was filmed by the family makes one feels like you’re sort of invading their privacies, and it plays on that curiosity factor really well, making it impossible to look away. Every element in this one works well, I liked that, the security cameras added a nice dimension because while handheld cameras used both in this one and here give us movement, the fact that this new perspective only gives us a single frame means that every time something jumps into that frame it can be seriously terrifying.

Paranormal Activity 2 is the horror sequel that works, and that’s easier said than done. Not to mention that it didn’t lose its essence with the added cashflow that came its way, instead, this one felt like the first one while having considerably more money to get scares with. It’s as though they knew fully well that the first Paranormal Activity was perfectly fine, and they didn’t pay for the upgrade but instead just payed for maintenance, and that’s just as well, since the upgrade would have probably been just splurging for kicks, and we don’t need that with this one. This is a film that will work for everyone that needs the scares, the perfect film to see in the middle of the night, and, as Paranormal Activity 3 is a given for next Halloween, it’s a franchise that has set a high standard to live up to.

Grade: B


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