Of course I saw Paranormal Activity 2 on opening weekend. I am after all, a self-proclaimed horror film nut. My greatest passion is travel but one of my favorite pastimes in life is watching and endlessly critiquing horror films. I love all genres of movies but I’ve watched horror films as long as I can remember. That might explain why I still freak out should I happen to wake up at 3:15 am (Amityville Horror anyone?) Anyway, on to the review.
I only decided to give my opinion on this movie because it’s getting a bad rap by so many horror film fans and critics. The criticism I have read is that it’s just more of the same. I have to say that yes, it is more of the same but thank God. In terms of wrapping up a story or continuing a story that was not supposed to have a continuation, it was successful. Originally, this was the little horror movie that could, made with a very low budget and a good idea. My main concern with P.A.2 was that it was going to suffer the same fate as Blair Witch 2, where the big studio got involved and screwed up the story by veering off into never-never land, ignoring the original formula that made it popular to begin with. Sometimes simplicity works best as was the case with the original Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. To my relief, P.A.2 did not suffer that fate. I went into it wondering how this story was going to tie in with the first movie. The scenario they created actually worked considering that the director from the first movie was merely a producer on this project and didn’t have as much input as he did in the original. Thankfully, the transition between the two films was relatively seamless and I was impressed with how a new team was able to come in and create a decent prequel to the film. Did it work in terms of going down as one of the best horror stories I’ve ever watched? Hardly, but I appreciate this story for what it is and I hope it does become a franchise. If so and a third film comes of it, I and others I’m sure would then expect a project with a bigger budget and more special effects, otherwise it could be in danger of becoming a one trick pony. Having said that, here is why it worked for me:
There is a baby and a dog in this film. The fact that there is a baby and a dog, created instant dread for me and kept me uncomfortable the entire time. At first I thought that those elements made it too uncomfortable, almost distracting, but the discomfort made it scarier, and certainly made the situation more dreadful. After all, I paid to feel completely and utterly hopeless, right?
There are six still cameras to constantly look at which means that your eyes are darting around like mad, looking for “something evil” to show itself somewhere. The fact that you are constantly looking means that you are engaged with the story, though there are moments of “looking for nothing” which does start to drag on a bit. But the scare tactics in the Paranormal Activity movies have been subtle which is what I have appreciated about them so far. I also appreciate how they can lull you into a false sense of security and then let you have it with both barrels.
As in the first P.A., the conclusion of this one did not disappoint. There was a familiar element mixed with something totally unexpected which I thought was a pretty good formula. In Paranormal Activity 1, we were going in circles about which ending should have been the official ending where as in P.A.2, I didn’t really want to change what they did. But it will be interesting to see if there were alternates when the DVD is released.
I appreciate this film along with its predecsesor for what they are: a simple little, no frills horror story. No big names, no distracting eyeballs popping out to make you go, Ewwww instead of Eeeekkkk! I like some of this generations horror films but given that they are starting to dig deep and just recreate the classics, I can appreciate something different such as this storyline. I mean, didn’t sweet, little Miss Katie scare you at all? Just a little?!