Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Paranormal Activity 2"

Okay, so remember when Paranormal Activity became a smash hit last year and single-handedly managed to topple the Saw franchise's stable hold on Halloween weekend? Well, in addition to launching Orin Peli's career, it also warranted a sequel. Why?

Because whate else is there to do with a successful horror movie but make a sequel to get money?

Well... you may be surprised to find out that this particular sequel is actually pretty good. Why?

Well, that brings me to today's movie...

Paranormal Activity 2

Kristi Rey (the sister of Katie from the first movie) is married to Daniel, has a stepdaughter named Ali, and an adorable baby son named Hunter. However, Kristi's household begins to get haunted by similar things that plagued Katie and Micah's house in the first movie. And so... they sort of go about trying to figure out what the hell is going on as things get stranger and stranger.

So... let's get started.

As per usual sequel mechanics, things get a lot bigger in Paranormal Activity 2. The house is bigger, the group of people affected is bigger, there's a dog involved, there's a Hispanic housekeeper involved, and...

There are more cameras. It's security cameras this time around, and about five of them. And that's not counting the handheld camera that isn't erected on a tripod anymore for roughtly 2/3rds of the movie. This typically works against the movie, as we're given too many vantage points and it lessens the tension slightly. I remember one of the most frightening moments in the original was when Katie was dragged out of bed by something invisible; part of what played into that particular scare was not knowing how the tussle between the demon and Micah would end. Sure, there are some areas of the house that aren't under surveillance, and they do play with some of the camera angles from time to time, but that factor of the unknown doesn't play into the video footage anymore.

Actually, unknown is given the finger throughout. This fleshes out a couple of things in the first movie, and even sheds light on why Katie and Micah were being attacked in the first place. This could be a problem, but... one thing that benefits the movie is that when explanations come, the implications of them actually make things a little more frightening. Sure, it takes some of the tension away when we can relate some of the events to how they played out in the first movie, but it's that kind of knowledge that frightens you the more you think about it.

And the movie gets going a little faster than it did the first time they did it. The really insane scares that people felt were lacking in the first movie come a little sooner, and given the larger area of the house it has a lot more it can work with to at first creep us the hell out and then outright scare the shit out of us. And ultimately, the build-up and the pay-off is enough to override what tension is taken away by the knowledge of stuff.

All this makes Paranormal Activity 2 a worthy sequel. Is it as good as the original? No. But it still offers the same brand of intelligent horror that the first movie offered. So it manages to be more than a cash-grab sequel.

And the most scary thing about it? That will be the muse.


Most definitely worth checking out.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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