“Paranormal Activity 2” Review

I just finished watching the 9:10 showing of Paranormal Activity 2 at the 21st street Warren, and…..*shivers*. I’ll start off with the plot. Don’t worry though, there will be no spoilers in this article. You soon discover at the beginning, that this movie is actually a prequel to the original Paranormal Activity. It confused me at first when Katie, (the girl from PA1) just happens to be chillin’ out over at this new family’s house, but it is later stated that this footage is from about 60 days before Mika’s death and Katie’s disappearence. The movie starts off with a family bringing home their new-born baby Hunter from the hospital. The family consists of a father named Dan and his daughter from a previous marriage, his second wife Kristi, their hispanic house maid, their German Shepherd Abby, and of course little baby Hunter. Another thing to know is that Kristi is soon revealed to be Katie’s sister.

A few days after Hunter is brought home from the hospital, the family comes home to what they think is the aftermath of a burglary. The house is trashed as if they had just had a party, but the only thing missing is a necklace that Kristi’s sister had given her. In order to prevent further break-ins, the family installs six cameras throughout the house. One outside the front door, one over the pool out back, one overlooking the main entrance of the house (including the stairs to the second floor), one in the kitchen, living room (also showing the door to the basement),  and one in Hunter’s room. Through the lense of these security cameras, including a handheld video camera, we witness the second chapter of Paranormal Activity.

Now, for anyone who disliked the first movie, there is little chance that the second will change your mind. The scares are very similar to the first film, and the reactions to them as well. Because you never know when something is going to happen, you have to stay alert, and it’s difficult to keep your eyes from scanning the entire screen almost every second of the film. You’re nerves begin to stand on end every time darkness falls. As soon as it switches to the security camera footage and the words such as “Night 13: August 9, 2006” fade onto the screen, you know something bad is going to happen. As the first one did, the second film starts off a bit slow, but makes up for its lack of scares with new plot information and even some comedy. Because not only did this movie make the theatre scream, it made them laugh.

Personally, I loved the first Paranormal Activity. It scared me to death and made it hard to sleep that night, so I had high expectations for the sequel. The way they tie the first and second movie together is quite clever, and the effects are pretty cool, but the truth is that most of the movie is based on anticipation and by that I mean you spend more time waiting for something to happen then seeing things actually happen. The movie was about 75% anticipation, 15% substance, and 10% actual scares. The addition of a family pet and a toddler definitely qualify as a low blow in the film, just because you’d have to absolutely heartless not to fear for their safety. Also, this movie did nothing to help me get over my fear of dark basements. There were a few jump moments that in my opinion, you could not avoid unless you were paralyzed from the neck down, and when they decided to go “all out” with the scares, my heart was pumping a mile a minute and in the back of my mind I was saying “I can’t believe this is happening right now!”

The security camera filming style made everything that much more realistic and I had to stop myself a few times from becoming too absorbed in the film by glancing over at the Warren Theatres clock on the wall or examining the chair in front of me. I have found that when I fully absorb myself in a movie it’s much easier to feel the raw terror that the characters are experiencing and when it comes to Paranormal activity 2, I’d rather avoid that. In the end, it all depends on what you find scary. Slasher films, with a kitchen knife and gallons of blood. Creatures films, with long fangs and a primal madness. Or Paranormal Activity 2, with falling pots and……well, you’ll see. It gets to you because it’s more realistic. We can relate to hearing unexplained noises at night better than being chased by a werewolf, or a man in a jumpsuit and a hockey mask. Paranormal Avtivity 2 gives one explanation for those strange noises you hear at night and suceeds at triggering that “What if?” feeling long after you leave the theatre.