Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Genres / Traits: Haunted House Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror, Cinéma Vérité
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Tod Williams Tod Williams
David Bierend David Bierend
Brian Boland Brian Boland
Molly Ephraim Molly Ephraim
Katie Featherston Katie Featherston
Seth Ginsberg Seth Ginsberg
Movie Connections:
Paranormal Activity
> Paranormal Activity (2007)
> Paranormal Calamity (2010)
> Abnormal Activity (2010)
> Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
> Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night (2010)
> Subnormal Activity (2010)
> Abnormal Activity 3 (2011)
> Paranormal Parody (2011)
> Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
> Abnormal Activity IIII (2012)
> Paranormal Activity: A Hardcore... (2012)
> Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
> Paranormal Movie (2013)
> Paranormal Whacktivity (2013)
> Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
> ...Show All Connections?

5.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 26, 2010
Let's just get this out of the way -- if you didn't care for "Paranormal Activity" you're definitely not going to care for the sequel. It's the same basic premise, the same visual style and the same blend of jump-scares and straight forward supernatural happenings. That said, it damned near works 100% of the time. Maybe that's because I am just a sucker for these kinds of films -- fake documentaries like "The Blair Witch Project". Even a film like "The Last Exorcism" from earlier this year kept me entertained because that sub-genre just works on me. And, as far as these types of films go, you could do a lot worse for a director than Tod Williams, the man who brought us the devastating "The Door in the Floor" and the wonderful "Adventures of Sebastian Cole". I have always said -- give a good director a mediocre script and he can do something with it. I still believe that.

One of the most surprising elements of the sequel was that it tied so heavily in with the first film. Krisi (the lead character) is the sister to Katie, the traumatized girl from the first film. She moves with her family into a big new house. Her husband Dan and she have just welcomed their new son, Hunter. And they also live their with Ali, Dan's daughter from a previous marriage. Oh, and there's a dog too. Strange things start happening immediately and most of them revolve around Hunter. Hunter sees things that no one else can. The pool cleaner starts acting funny. Noises are heard. Eventually the supernatural presence starts making itself more and more known and Kristi and Ali seem to be the only ones who believe what's going on. It follows the same trajectory as the first film except we also get a little added explanation as to what the spirit is and what it wants. And, since the sequel takes place before the events of the first film, we also get the first film explained in more detail.

I don't have a ton of defenses for this film. Yes, it's the same film as the first one. No, it doesn't do anything new that the old one didn't. But it works. Tod Williams knows how to direct the cameras and is really good at building the tension to the breaking point. The final twenty minutes of the film are just fantastic and Williams has a sure hand with the material. He knows how absurd what we're seeing is but plays it for absolute sincerity. And maybe that is part of why I enjoyed the sequel more than the original -- even though they are trying to falsely pass this off as real footage, it's done so in this way where they know that we're in on the joke. No one has fallen for something like that since "Blair Witch" and a savvy filmmaker knows that.

Someone mentioned to be over the weekend that this was going to be the new "Saw" franchise. I would take one "Paranormal Activity" over 1,000 "Saw" films any day of the week. Even though some of the scares are cheap, they are scares nevertheless and that it something the "Saw" franchise has never been able to evoke. I thoroughly enjoyed "Paranormal Activity 2" and will definitely be seeing the likely third one as well. And, yes, they do leave the door open for a third film. Fine with me, especially if they keep tapping damned fine directors to tackle the story. Thanks, Tod Williams, for making this picture work. 8/10.
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