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Paranormal Activity 2

A Horror movie directed by Tod Williams

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A surprisingly effective sequel that gives you the creeps.

  • Oct 24, 2010
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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.

Inevitably, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 cannot be so successful, because it used many of the same conventions as the first. The shock of newness has worn off. That being said, it is a far, far better sequel than anyone had the right to hope for.

We meet a family in Southern California on the day the couple comes back from the hospital with their new baby, Hunter. Dad is a nearing middle-aged man with a teenage daughter, Ali, from a previous marriage. His wife is considerably younger…but not to the point of being ridiculous. They have a nice, older housekeeper and a German Shepherd. They are a pretty happy group…the teen daughter is actually a nice, intelligent, helpful young lady. There's no marital strife. Life is good.

One day, they experience a break-in, so Dad has a security system installed, with camera's focused on several spots of the house at once. This device allows for several angles to be captured at one time…because their domestic bliss is soon interrupted by strange events. This is how PA2 is a step forward from PA. The first film relied exclusively on footage captured on one camcorder. Now we have about 6 different shots of the house, along with camcorder footage. It's a nifty (if obvious) device…but it's pretty important. We can now watch mysterious things happening in more than one location at a time. It becomes pretty clear early on that whatever paranormal activity is going on in this household is directed primarily at young Hunter.

I do not want to give away any more plot, because there are actually some surprises in store. And the first movie does have an unexpected connection to the sequel…a very clever and satisfying one, in my opinion. In fact, I somewhat regret not watching the first one again prior to seeing the sequel.

The movie retains, for the most part, the low-budget feel. We're supposedly watching "found" footage again. However, because several cameras were used, obviously significantly more editing was needed…therefore the movie feels just a little less "found" than before. And the acting, frankly, is just a bit slicker than the first time. This all results in a very low-budget movie that still feels ever so slightly glossy. Probably not enough to detract from the overall experience…but I certainly noticed.

The film, in my opinion, offers more creepiness and fewer genuine frights than the first. It plays off our sense of dread very well. For nearly 90 minutes, you sit there worried about what will happen next. This doesn't really happen in horror films very often, and it is an uncomfortable yet pleasurable experience.

I was very skeptical that PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 would be anything more than a cheap rip-off of the first…a pure cash grab. I'm very happy to report that this is actually a highly-satisfying, unexpectedly clever sequel that tries, first and foremost, to creep you out. If you liked or loved the first film, you'll enjoy this one as well. If, for some reason, you disliked the first…stay away and let the rest of us enjoy!

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October 26, 2010
The first one was a fun little ride but I think I 'll wait for the DVD for 2. Excellent review.
October 25, 2010
Awesome! Now I'm pumped to see it! Thanks ^_^
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 . 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 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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Ranked #146
I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … 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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