Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paranormal Activity 2

Directed by Tod Williams.
2010. Rated R, 91 minutes.
Sprague Grayden
Brian Boland
Molly Ephraim
Katie Featherston
Vivis Cortez
William Juan Prieto
Jackson Xenia Prieto
Seth Ginsberg
Micah Sloat

Right away, we figure something out in Paranormal Activity 2 that alters our vision of the original. Apparently, while Katie (Featherston) and Micah (Sloat) were dealing with an evil spirit in their home, Katie’s sister Kristi (Grayden) and her family is doing the same. Actually, their ordeal starts first. This sudden revelation makes the first movie feel like something is missing since none of this is ever mentioned. Nevertheless, it all begins shortly after little Hunter (the Prieto twins) is born. Pretty soon, inanimate objects are moving about by themselves and things often go bump in the night. Ever the pragmatic, Kristi’s husband Daniel (Boland) always has an explanation for everything while his wife and daughter Ali (Ephraim) think otherwise.

We’re privy to these happenings through two avenues. First, members of the Rey family are fond of carrying around a camcorder, much like Micah in that first movie. Second, they’ve installed security cameras all over the house after what they think is a break-in. Early on, come home to discover their house has been ransacked. Immediately, they assume it was done by burglars. We know better.

As expected, the severity of the strange occurrences elevates as time passes. The Reys are also often visited by Katie and Micah, periodically. Occasionally, Ali’s boyfriend Brad (Ginsberg) is on hand. The family dog seems to be aware that something is not quite right. Even Hunter appears to have the same feeling.

If you’ve seen the original, you’ll notice there’s a few more people around, plus the dog. Basically, this is the only thing that differentiates the sequel from its predecessor. Many of the scare tactics are recycled. The pacing feels identical and the interaction between the skeptic (Daniel) and the believers (Kristi and Ali) feels the same. While the first felt fresh, particularly in the stagnant haunted house genre, this one feels like a remake.

With that said, it’s not a terrible watch. Adding more people to the mix does give us several points of view, which we didn’t have the first time. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of them is a baby. Kids in danger tend to get us emotionally involved easier. We just can’t stand it when our angry Casper includes junior in all the fun.

The other thing that keeps us watching is the potential for another crazy ending. We simply have to see how this thing turns out. This one tries but doesn’t have quite the wow factor of the original. It’s interesting, but only in a way that makes you say “Hmmm…that’s interesting.” It doesn’t make you say “OMG!” In summation, that’s the problem with the whole movie. While it’s an okay movie with a couple frights, it often just feels like more of the same.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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