“Paranormal Activity 2” has swooped in to capitalize on “Paranormal Activity.” The sequel is exhilarating with its documentary style, unpredictable pace and simple but spooky special effects. However, it re-hashes old tricks and is too similar to the original film.
The film begins with a peek into an idyllic suburban family. When their house is burglarized by an unknown intruder, the family installs a fully operational camera system throughout, which captures some strange happenings.
“Paranormal Activity 2” uses too many of the same scares as its predecessor, giving less reason to see this new version over the first. The movie fits in a slowly moving door that was made famous in the first and includes loud slams and Ouija boards. Even though there is the addition of a multiple camera system that adds suspense and allow scares to occur in multiple rooms, the movie’s activity stays in one room for the most part, just like in the first film. This return to old tricks can turn off dedicated fans of this genre who are looking for something new.
However, the audience connects more with the family in this film than they could with the victims in the original. While the original couple is torn apart through anger and fear, the family in “Paranormal Activity 2” manages to stay together — adding more tension as they face the demon.
Director Tod Williams can be credited for taking this somewhat dry premise left behind from the first film and making it exciting. He is completely unpredictable with his pacing and timing of scares. Strange events slowly build up, such as a moving baby mobile and then a door opening slowly. But they can happen extremely suddenly, such as when a kitchen convulses and throws all of its contents onto the floor in less than a second.
The cast puts on convincing performances in their shallow roles. They are able to execute the simple dialogue convincingly, belting out pop culture references such as “Release the Kraken!” in a familiar way. It allows for audiences to care just enough about the characters to watch them get tormented.
“Paranormal Activity 2,” much like the original, is a cheap, but entertaining movie. It may not leave much of an impression later on, but it is fun to watch.
“Paranormal Activity 2” was written by Michael R. Perry and Christopher B. Landon and directed by Tod Williams.