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Paranormal Activity 2

A Horror movie directed by Tod Williams

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You Won't Wonder What Happens While You Sleep Again....

  • Oct 23, 2010
Rating:
+3

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 two sequels coming this year for this low-budget Independent horror film; one is a homegrown sequel released Oct. 22 while the other more direct sequel is called “Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Nights” (click here for details) is a Foreign movie made by the Japanese . It is kind of weird for an American film to have spawned a Japanese sequel, but that is something to be discussed another day.

I’ll get right to the point; if you didn’t like the first film and not a fan of the documentary style cinematography, you’ll be better off staying away from this sequel.

              

             


“Paranormal Activity 2” is a prequel in most parts and a sequel in some. This second film closely follows the experiences of the family of Katie’s sister Kristie (Sprague Grayden). With her husband Daniel (Brian Boland) who is also a widower, the two would like to settle into a quiet life with their newborn baby; supplemented by Daniel’s daughter Ali (Molly Ephraim). When a strange occurrence happens that disturbs their home, Daniel blames it to vandals and has hidden security cameras installed throughout the house. Ali surveys the scary incidents through the use of her own camcorder and the security cameras as Kristie herself feels that the disturbing incidents may carry ties to her childhood and to her sister Katie (Katie Featherston, from the first film) who frequently visits her family.


While the first film relied heavily on the power of suggestion and its ability to mimic ‘real’ footage to generate a feeling of dread and unknown terror; “Paranormal Activity 2” is a more polished installment of the documentary style cinematography. This can both work against it and for it; for those who were looking for more of a story and answers from its concept, this sequel does tie a lot of things together. The reasons for Katie’s photo, their family history, the demonic entity that stalks this home and Katie‘s, all answers are laid out for the consumption of the “Paranormal” fan. This sequel does feel more like a movie, and for the most part, the ‘power of suggestion’ thing seemed to have been abandoned for a more detailed story.

               A scene from the film "Paranormal Activity 2."

The direction by Tod Williams is pretty good as he uses what he has and remembers to put in some gaps in the screenplay to emulate the feeling of a documentary. He shifts the shots from camcorder footage and the footage from the security cameras. For horror fans, this sequel may prove to be more attractive than the slow-moving screenplay developed by the original. The film does feel like a haunted house film with some poltergeist effects; it does follow the same steps of infestation and oppression to keep the film close to the framework of the original film. The film has several scenes that made me jump (which is important to a horror film) and a lot of sequences that was very frightening and disturbing. Let’s be honest, a supernatural force targeting a helpless innocent child can just give me goosebumps. Some may argue that some of the scares felt like a rethread of the ones in the original but one has to remember that this is the same entity that attacked Katie in the original film. This time around, the attacks were aggressive and it was strong from the beginning. The first movie had a slow build up that made it feel like an episode of those paranormal shows on TV, this film doesn’t hide the fact that it is a movie and moves rather quickly.

I’ve mentioned that while the first film emulated ‘real’ footage, this one felt more like a movie. The screenplay while fitting to its premise, had devices that felt rather stereotypical of a horror movie. Let’s get one thing straight, supernatural films have a strong tendency to lean towards superstitious beliefs, legends (based on some truth) and haunting experiences that have similarities. The screenplay carries strong references to curses, demonic bargaining and familial secrets. I am saying that while these details make the movie feel more like a movie, the possibilities of such things are found from the books of superstition and myth which may have been derived from real stories.

               A scene from "Paranormal Activity 2"

              

The performances in the film are somewhat of a mixed bag quite honestly. The cast was good but I thought that there were times like they were really ‘acting’ rather than in front of a camcorder. This does work against the film since for a “mockumentary“, a film has to have performances that appear realistic and not scripted. This is one area where the film loses some credibility in the POV style gimmick but I gave it a benefit of a doubt since the camerawork wasn’t exactly designed to be focused and revealing. The characterization in the film is a little weak, but then again, if they’re real folks as with a doco, what would we know about them? It does follow the usual formula of a skeptic, a superstitious one, a believer and the one who bears the brunt of the attack.

So is this sequel a worthy one? Well, yes and no. It does feel more like a movie that felt like it abandoned the original’s style but it does give fans of the franchise answers and may have a more fleshed out story. It does have some nicely timed scares and a family in danger is just a more compelling device than Katie and Micah in the original. “Paranormal Activity 2” is aimed for fans of the original film and it leaves me curious how the Japanese sequel would fare.

Recommended! [3 ½+ Out of 5 Stars]

Note: Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night Follows a Japanese man who comes home from the U.S. who has been followed by the same entity that attacked Katie.











                
 

3 ½ + Stars: You Won't Wonder What Happens While You Sleep Again.... 3 ½ + Stars: You Won't Wonder What Happens While You Sleep Again.... 3 ½ + Stars: You Won't Wonder What Happens While You Sleep Again....

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November 21, 2011
On rare occasions, people will take a picture having the image of a ghost in the background. Paranormal activities have been debated for decades with haunted houses producing strange sounds, random voices and even physical phenomena at times.
November 21, 2011
I know. I have a few brushes with the paranormal before...or at least something that I thought was paranormal after some scrutiny on my part. Have you seen the third film in this franchise?
November 21, 2011
Not yet.
 
November 04, 2010
Ick, I'm so out of touch with movies that I still haven't caught the first one yet! I'll have to catch that, then this. Thanks for the recommendation, Woo! :)
November 05, 2010
no way! you haven't seen the original yet? shame shame! Think you can see it online now....
 
October 31, 2010
I'm going to have to watch the first one over again--and the thought of that fills me with inertia. I sort of liked it at the time but as I look back on it I'm less impressed--except for those final 60 seconds or so. The fact is that I remember very little of what seems to be crucial--oh yeah, there was a photo. Now that you mention it I remember that. The truth is I'm not very interested in seeing this flick. I'd much rather re-watch DEATH OF A GHOST HUNTER and see if it's still as good as I I remember it being.
October 31, 2010
understood. I liked the original's ambition and its look of actual footage; it doesn't hold up to repeat viewings though. Death of a Ghost Hunter? whoa. tell me more please....
October 31, 2010
The title pretty much tells you how it ends. It's very low budget. I've been thinking of reviewing it but I want to see it again and make sure that I'm not over reacting.
October 31, 2010
I recorded RED (a twist on the RED RIDING HOOD fable) on my DVR, looks interesting. I'll let you now how it turns out. Hey, AMC is playing THE WALKING DEAD TV series premiering tonight at 10 pm... :)
October 31, 2010
I know! I've been looking forward to that. It's based on that comic book series, right?
October 31, 2010
Kind of. There's a (RED) GRIMM Fairy tales comic book that re-imagines the fables and injects mature content. I like it a lot so I am excited for the movie.

THE WALKING DEAD IS AWESOME!! and yes, it is based off a comic.
October 31, 2010
but of course the series will be a little watered down....the comic series was just unbelievably dark and depressing.
October 31, 2010
You figure that since it's TV>
October 31, 2010
well, I hope it does at least do it justice. AMC did a great job with BREAKING BAD and it is playing rather late for a show. So I am keeping my fingers crossed....
October 31, 2010
Here's hopin'.
 
October 29, 2010
Sweet - I'll have to check it out. If you say it's a +4 woo, then it's worth seeing, for sure.
October 29, 2010
make sure you see the original before you see this one. Thanks for the read. :)
 
October 29, 2010
Great review - I didn't know about the Japanese sequel, I'll have to check that out. I liked this sequel more than the original, mostly because I found the first movie's premise to be a bit obvious. This one was more believable and creepier, I thought.
October 29, 2010
I am having a tough time deciding which movie I liked more quite honestly. There are parts in the original that I liked because of its low-budget charm but this was more polished in the direction department. I am ready for the Japanese sequel!
 
October 25, 2010
I haven't seen the original and as you point out, I'm not a fan of this new documentary-style horror films (though "Blair Witch Project" was fun), so I'll probably skip this.
October 26, 2010
you need to see [REC]. that was just intense.
 
October 24, 2010
Sounds good man but I will wait for the DVD, also that sequel topic is something to be discussed. I think you are the right man for the job Sir. Excellent review as always
October 26, 2010
once it gets released here in December, I am on it!
 
October 24, 2010
I am a believer in the paranormal in real life, but I'm a skeptic when it comes to movies like this. I kinda wanted to see the first one, but being a believer I thought it might be a little scary. (I wouldn't say that White Noise was a great movie, but there were parts that freaked me out) But then I found out that the first PA had some major inaccuracies, and the characters did things that regular people experiencing a haunting would never do, like challenging the unseen entity for instance. Seriously, that's just asking for waking up with bloody scratches the next morning! :P But yeah, great review as always!
October 24, 2010
So am I. I've had some brushes with the paranormal so I guess that's why movies like this always hits a nerve. I liked WHITE NOISE and actually asking an entity to do something again is a way to confirm that it wasn't your mind playing tricks on you. For scares, this was more scary than the first movie but for some reason the first film felt more like a documentary and had that unsettling feel to it. Thanks for reading!
 
October 24, 2010
Great review William! Plans to revisit the first Paranormal Activity and the 4th Kind should be enough mock-umentary for me this season but it's interesting to see what you thought of this one. They're certainly putting some serious attention to the advertising campaign for PA 2, which can be a good or bad thing if the past holds true. Nice work bro.
October 24, 2010
Thanks, Jason! This was good in a different way from the original movie. I also liked the FOURTH KIND. Hey, speaking of which, have you seen [REC] and [REC]2? I think they have the best execution for a mockumentary I've seen...
October 24, 2010
No I haven't but have heard good things. I'll have to check those out! You haven't reviewed them per chance have you?
October 24, 2010
I sure did. [REC] is right here and [REC]2 is over here.  You need to see them!
 
1
More Paranormal Activity 2 reviews
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 . February 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*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 …
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!
Quick Tip by . February 23, 2011
This film is much better than the first, IMHO. I wasn't a huge fan of the first film and even gave it a negative rating here on Lunch. That could have something to do with the fact that I had seen The Fourth Kind in the same week and found that to be far more scarier or maybe I just didn't get it because it didn't spook me at all. However, the exact opposite can be said of this film. I like how it starts as a prequel to the first film and you get a greater understanding of it and then, ends the …
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William ()
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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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Details

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