Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Unnerving at best.
As mentioned in my previous review, Paranormal Activity is the scariest film I have ever seen and experienced. When it was officially announced, I was shocked to hear it would be receiving a sequel. The movie did so well on its own, making you think long after the film was finished. Did it really need a sequel? No, not really, and I would be surprised if anyone was really even asking for one. Be it as it may, Paranormal Activity 2 was indeed released in 2010 to continue with the scare-fest. Disappointingly, this film lacked any form of real terror. Uneasiness and unnerving, sure…scary? No.
In this prequel to Paranormal Activity, Katie’s sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden) just had a baby named Hunter, and they got a video camera to document the newborn being introduced to his new home. When an apparent break-in happens in the home, the family decides it would be best to set cameras up all over the home to constantly film every angle of the house. Turns out a nasty demon is haunting their home, and all signs point to the demon being after Hunter. Legend and lore confirm this. Katie and Micah make guest appearances as well.
Here’s what I really like about this film…it’s a prequel. It takes place only a few months before the events of the first film, and I like that. It allows for more answers as to why everything happens in the first film…but not all the answers mind you. I also like the use of covering the entire house with cameras….seems almost obvious. However, it does lose that level of realism and first-person effect that the first one had. I try to say this as often as possible, but keeping things simple greatly affects how good or bad a movie is. Anyways, everything was in place for this film to work…it just doesn’t. You can watch this film without even batting an eye. It’s just not scary.
The whole concept of a demon going after a small child is unnerving, so when the demon makes sure everyone is out of the room, and pays close attention to Hunter…it’s unnerving. However, for some reason, I just felt the level of production this time, so I wasn’t really scared for the boy. That was honestly their best asset, that kid. They then did what they shouldn’t have done, which is try to fit more things in the film that you can see. More shadows, more jumping moments, more unexplainable things explained…it loses the magic and mystery when it does that, and again…not scary.
The characters weren’t as memorable and as lovable as they were the first time around. It was neat to see Katie and Micah again, but they weren’t in much. Half of what made the other film so great to begin with was how human the characters were, how believable their performances were…it’s the little things, I’m telling you. The little things are what keep everything nicely packed.
Finally, the best part of this film is something I can’t even tell you without spoiling the ending. Let’s just put it this way: it nicely ties in the first and second film together, coming full circle. I won’t say anything more than that, but to tell you the truth…when horror films have such a different plot and then tie into each other, that’s what fascinates me, The Saw Collection did the same thing in a manner of speaking, and I actually liked that aspect, as do I here.
Paranormal Activity 2 tried to use everything that made the first film a success as well as improved on a few things at the same time. Only some of the improvements were actually good, the rest diminished what it could have been, and ultimately, it’s level of scare.