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Paranormal Activity 2

A Horror movie directed by Tod Williams

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I've got it ! Let's kill a dog! Let's scare a baby! That'll creep 'em out!

  • Feb 18, 2012
*1/2 out of ****

I don't blame director Tod Williams for the failure of "Paranormal Activity 2". I blame the studio for wanting to expand on a premise that seemed just about worn out by the time the original film ended. I also blame the studio for wanting to cash-in on America's arrogance; they know most of us are idiots, and that we will pay to see disposable garbage such as this, and they exploit the fact. Simply put, this movie is a product of greed. Why so many horror fans and movie-goers both passionate and casual are oblivious to all this is beyond me; worse, it freaking worries me. People defend the film by saying that whether we like it or not, it makes us jump: but those same people are forgetting that if we lived by that philosophy, just about every horror flick released would be good, so to speak.

The first film, if you missed it, involved a couple (Micah and Katie) who invested in a hand-held video camera that they placed in their bedroom in order to record some paranormal activity that Katie was suspicious of. If you did see the film, then you'll know that they ultimately got more than they bargained for. To review "Paranormal Activity 2", I feel it almost absolutely necessary to reference the original film as much as possible; because in a film as disappointing and flat-out indulgent as this, the least I can do is compare.

OK, so the film acts as more of a prequel rather than a sequel (for reasons genuinely unspecified); focusing on Katie's sister and her family this time around. Coincidentally, they too are disturbed by some strange going-ons in their household; prompting them to purchase hand-held digital cameras of their own (this investment inspired that of Micah). However, the cameras are placed in different places. See here: there's a camera by the family pool and the patio, one mounted in the new baby's room, and a few more all around the house (ranging from the front entrance to the kitchen). It's clear that these people really want to know the truth about what's going on; and whether it was wise to force their former maid to vacate the premises due to her strange behavior regarding the titular activity.

I guess the film might have worked had it been particularly skilled in the art of recycling. Too bad it's not. "Paranormal Activity 2" doesn't work for me because it takes the style from the original film and makes a considerable effort to do bigger, more extreme things with the concept. Stylistically, it feels entirely the same; with few surprises worth writing home about, save for a few good moments. Quite frankly, I was kind of bored by the familiarity in the situation presented.

So here I am; trapped with these hideously uninteresting people for just a little less than 90 minutes. Some will be willing to trudge through the muck and find something worth talking about "Paranormal Activity 2", but in my honest opinion, it doesn't even come close to truly earning my praise. Yeah, loud noises make the audience jump; that's natural, but I'm not really frightened by all that. In my opinion, fear only comes full circle when more thought-provoking issues are present, and "PA2" gives you absolutely none of those.

I'm not enthusiastic about this movie. I honestly don't want to be writing this review right now; but I'm doing it anyways, regardless of my personal feelings. I can't tell you whether "Paranormal Activity 2" is worth a gander or not; I say go your own way, and respect my opinions regardless of your own. Chances are you will enjoy the movie, to a degree. Just go in knowing that this prequel has no intentions to build up suspense the correct way; like a civilized horror film. It intends to scare you with loud noises, jump scares, and abrupt violence. If you're under eighteen years of age, that should be perfectly fine. You'll most likely have a pretty good time. I just wish I could share those sympathies; but I don't. Instead, I think "Paranormal Activity 2" sucks, and that's that.

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February 19, 2012
For me, this had some good moments but the original was way better. I felt like they wanted to polish this up and it hurt the 'real footage' thing that made the original work.
February 18, 2012
There's always value in the scariness quotient!
February 18, 2012
Sure. But not here.
February 18, 2012
Perhaps not.
More Paranormal Activity 2 reviews
review by . October 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ + Stars: You Won't Wonder What Happens While You Sleep Again....
“Paranormal Activity” was an Indie Horror smash hit with a tiny budget of $ 11,000 as a limited run in Indie theaters and horror conventions. It came even as a huge surprise that it has earned more than $ 60 million domestically with a $ 193 million worldwide box-office take. The film was such a huge success that the studios scrambled to make a follow up. Well, this time the director of the first film Oren Peli returns as producer with Tod Williams as director. There are actually …
review by . October 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It's not often that you can say a sequel is an improvement on the original movie, but it's nice when it happens. Paranormal Activity 2 takes what was good about the first movie and keeps it going, while learning from the mistakes of the original and doing it better.  The result is an effective and creepy ghost story that builds good tension and surprises in all the right places, with an ending that left me a little breathless.      The story of Paranormal Activity …
review by . October 24, 2010
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY was flat-out one of the scarier movies of recent years. The simple story, told with the low-budget device of all the events being captured on a home camcorder, was remarkably effective and the film gave a sensation of reality and was extremely creepy. Most "scary" movies just go for giving you a jump-in-your-seat moment…if t hey can momentarily make your heart beat faster, that's success enough. PARANORMAL actually made me feel a little bit anxious, even after the film was over.    …
review by . October 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
If we don't find ourselves as scared as we did a year ago, it's because, this time around, we know exactly what to expect. There will be phantom thuds. There will be objects that move on their own. There will be doors that slam without the aid of a living person or a sudden gust of wind. In "Paranormal Activity 2," many of these phenomena are preceded by the sound of a low-frequency rumble, which essentially gives audiences a signal to prepare themselves, reducing the fright factor …
Quick Tip by . April 18, 2011
A brilliant little horror gem -- much like the original but perhaps a bit more nuanced due to the way it expanded on the use of video footage -- PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 is one of those rare sequels: it actually builds upon the original and, debatedly, surpasses it.  It's a clever way to pay homage but also stake out its own territory.  A wonderful & scary li'l surprise!
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #2
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Paramount has ordered up some more 'Paranormal Activity' this October, a sequel to last fall's indie smash. The studio is set to launch the sequel to Paranormal Activity October 22.

Poster art for "Paranormal Activity 2"

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Director: Tod Williams
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 22, 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 91 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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