Reviews

Paranormal Activity 2

3

The poltergeist finds a new haunt…

Paranormal Activity 2 review

“The more attention we pay to it, the worse it gets!” whispers terrified young mom Kristi (Sprague Grayden) in PA2, the inevitable sequel to the micro-budget word-of-mouth hit that made such a splash last year.

The ‘it’ she refers to isn’t the Saw franchise or The X Factor, but the same malignant spook that pestered Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston in Oren Peli’s original.

This time, though, it is after Kristi’s son Hunter, an adorable toddler whose well-appointed nursery becomes the focus for all sorts of inexplicable shenanigans in Tod Williams’ (The Door In The Floor) better-than-you’d-expect follow-up.

That Sloat and Featherston are part of its cast tips the wink early that what we’re actually watching is a prequel to Peli’s film.

That said, it might just as easily qualify as a remake, Williams using the same shock tactics, lengthy static shots and eerie night-vision visuals that creeped us out 11 months ago.

Returning home one day to a ransacked house, Kristi and older husband Daniel (Brian Boland) install a battery of CCTV cameras that become our timecoded eyes and ears.

Conveniently, they also get a camcorder that always seems to be on to shoot the scary stuff Big Brother can’t cover.

Not that there’s much of that in the movie’s dull first half, a mysteriously ambulant pool cleaning machine and a rogue saucepan being the only untoward elements for what feels like an age.

But around the midpoint, Williams springs his first big jack-in-the-box surprise, a welcome game-changer that cranks the story up a notch into a more rewarding strata of sustained hysteria.

It helps that there is more at stake this time around, Boland having a teenage daughter, a Mexican maid and a loyal Alsatian to look out for as well as his wife and tot.

Co-writers Michael R Perry, Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst, meanwhile, adeptly tap into a host of middle-class anxieties, among them the fear of home invasion and the nightmare of an unattended infant being home alone.

Armed with a significantly bigger budget than Peli’s paltry $15,000, Williams also makes judicious use of special effects in moments showing characters at the mercy of an irresistible invisible force.

In short, Activity 2 is no Book Of Shadows to its predecessor’s Blair Witch. But at root, it’s essentially a reprise that, in attempting to give its unseen antagonist a backstory and a motive, robs it of much of its chilling ambiguity.
 

Verdict:

Those seeking answers to the questions left dangling last year will get some satisfaction. Those hoping to be blown away all over again by another cult horror sensation will not. All the same, you’ll be double-checking the doors when you get home.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: October 22nd 2010
  • Genre

User Reviews

    • VincentWire

      Oct 23rd 2010, 10:12

      4

      I think this should get an extra star if you're a fan of the original; it's the Aliens to the Alien of Paranormal Activity.

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    • chesh

      Oct 24th 2010, 20:38

      1

      I'm not convinced I've seen the same film as the Neil Smith. I found it to be badly thought out with non of the suspense of the original. And despite a couple of better moments, both referenced in the review above it came across as a (pointless) virtual re-run of the original. Personally not so much Alien/Aliens as more 48 Hours/Another 48 Hours.

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    • helaumur

      Oct 25th 2010, 18:52

      5

      Sequels generally suck in a major way, the hit Blair Witch was followed by The Boom of Shadows and i feared PA2 would be the same. How wrong i was. It is a rare quality to have a sequel that is better than the original. Dont get me wrong, i loved the original, Oren Peli changed the horror genre as much as Hitchcock. The sequel is really a prequel and is so jumpy i have never wanted to leave the cinema so much, it was like sadomasochism, it was horrible but i wanted more. I cant recommend this film enough and those of you who did not like the first one, go an see this one, i am sure it will convince you to change your mind. This film made me listen to every noise in my house but i was not brave enough to investigate. PA2 is superb from beginning to horrific end. You'll sleep with the lights on i guarantee it. Helen Murphy

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    • helaumur

      Oct 25th 2010, 18:54

      Sequels generally suck in a major way, the hit Blair Witch was followed by The Book of Shadows and i feared PA2 would be the same. How wrong i was. It is a rare quality to have a sequel that is better than the original. Dont get me wrong, i loved the original, Oren Peli changed the horror genre as much as Hitchcock. The sequel is really a prequel and is so jumpy i have never wanted to leave the cinema so much, it was like sadomasochism, it was horrible but i wanted more. I cant recommend this film enough and those of you who did not like the first one, go an see this one, i am sure it will convince you to change your mind. This film made me listen to every noise in my house but i was not brave enough to investigate. PA2 is superb from beginning to horrific end. You'll sleep with the lights on i guarantee it. Helen Murphy

      Alert a moderator

    • helaumur

      Oct 25th 2010, 18:54

      5

      Sequels generally suck in a major way, the hit Blair Witch was followed by The Book of Shadows and i feared PA2 would be the same. How wrong i was. It is a rare quality to have a sequel that is better than the original. Dont get me wrong, i loved the original, Oren Peli changed the horror genre as much as Hitchcock. The sequel is really a prequel and is so jumpy i have never wanted to leave the cinema so much, it was like sadomasochism, it was horrible but i wanted more. I cant recommend this film enough and those of you who did not like the first one, go an see this one, i am sure it will convince you to change your mind. This film made me listen to every noise in my house but i was not brave enough to investigate. PA2 is superb from beginning to horrific end. You'll sleep with the lights on i guarantee it. Helen Murphy

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    • malorla

      Nov 1st 2010, 12:55

      4

      While I still think PA1 is superior, I really enjoyed this sequel. I do think it could have been creepier/scarier, given that there is a child involved and also with a teenager living in the house. I thought it tied-in well with the story of the original. It was slow to start, but it was very creepy once it got going. The appeal of these films for me, is in the style of filming; because it's "real" there's no scary horror score in the background and they don't go for the stereotypical frights. Good sequel and great Hallowe'en film.

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    • JasminePalmer

      Nov 17th 2010, 15:06

      1

      The first film had to be given credit because it was the first of its kind.... im really not convinced this lives up to the standards set by the first film. With little suspense and nothing that you could class as thrilling i left the cinema feeling indifferent.

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    • OnScreen

      Nov 18th 2010, 10:19

      2

      Scary at times, but not as good as the first film. I liked the whole prequel/sequel combination but hoping there won't be a third film. http://zoopy.com/q/5f1y

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    • OnScreen

      Nov 18th 2010, 10:19

      2

      Scary at times, but not as good as the first film. I liked the whole prequel/sequel combination but hoping there won't be a third film. http://zoopy.com/q/5f1y

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    • kizi2001

      Jan 6th 2011, 21:54

      1

      This film was so pants i nearly walked out of the cinema the only reason i stayed was because i thought it would get better! Completly drags until the last half hour which is ok paranormal activity 1 was loads better. To be honest the acting is quite c**p too.

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    • Legacy3D

      Jan 21st 2011, 5:23

      2

      After a new kind of horror movie gripped America last Halloween, the makers have created the prequel. This is set 2 months before the events of the first movie. Where married couple Kristi and Dan Rey(Sprague Grayden, Brian Boland)their new born child hunter and their older daughter ali (Molly Ephraim) are happily living in California when strange things begin to happen in there house. These include when the pool cleaner escapes from the pool on its own, doors slamming on their own and strange noises at night. Which the family tries to pass these things off as nothing, until things become far more violent including an attack on the family dog. Also returning in the movie are the original character’s Kate and Micah before there similar fate in the original. Overall I was expecting a better movie than the first because of the increased budget, but this provided to be disappointing as it had less scary moments and an uninteresting story to continue this new line in horror movies.

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    • sevdamm

      Feb 25th 2011, 9:38

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