[Katie, Micah, Ali, Chrissy, Hunter]
image from screenrant.com
RANT: It’s Wednesday! Can you believe I just came from the theater? Of course, if you know me, it would be easy to fathom. Because I promised the fellas from work that I would go see this sequel, I had to wait a few days after the initial release. Since it was #1 opening weekend, I figured I had a good shot to like it!
SYNOPSIS: Taking place before the events of the original events, Katie’s sister and her family start to experience shaking pots and ghostly thuds. As the occurrences escalate, the family starts to take drastic action against it.
Building on the success of the original film, “Paranormal Activity 2” occurs around the same time as the first film. Similar in structure to the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” reboot and its sequel/prequel “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”, “Paranormal Activity 2” answers questions and expands the back story set forth in the original. The story manages to give more life to the reasons why a demon is so hellbent (no pun intended) on wreaking havoc on Katie and Micah in the first, and on Katie’s sister Chrissy, her husband, his daughter Ali and Chrissy and her husband’s new baby son, Hunter, in the second.
“Paranormal Activity 2” tries to take a different tact from the first film. While we were virally convinced that the first movie was a true account of actual events, we are under no illusions for the sequel. Instead of relying on that gimmick, “Paranormal 2” decides to up the ante by the introduction of new characters, new surroundings, a dog and a baby. Of course, the same demon is at work – for reasons that become evident during the story. The German Shepherd and the baby Hunter are fine additions, one the protector and the other an innocent. Most moviegoers have a soft spot for animals and infants, and do not want misadventure or harm to befall either of them. In this way, we become a little more invested in what happens.
Since the same demon returns, for the first time again, it is up to its old tricks. And it seems to be a one trick pony (or demon). In the first movie, the demon ramped up the hi jinks fairly quickly. In this film, the demon seems to have the training wheels on, taking a long, long time between removing the pool cleaning robot out of the water and shaking the pots and pans hanging in the kitchen every night to antagonizing the dog and physically moving the residents around the house. For several nights of filming, we numbingly see the same security camera shot of the front yard and the pool and its cleaning robot, dragging the storyline down to a crawl. And only a couple of times do the film makers use the ole “fast forward on the camcorder” trick to speed the story along, and not to as hypnotizing an effect as when Katie was standing motionless for hours in a fugue state as Micah slept unaware. There was something truly unnerving in that original sequence. Sure, the chandelier sways, the pots and pans shake, the doors swing by themselves, but the truly “oh shit” moments are not as terrifying as in the original. Do not get me wrong, avid reader, there are a few “jumpy” spots, a “goosebumpy” sequence and a “don’t go in there” moment, but some of the scares are more predictable, even if well executed.
In fact, I found myself laughing quite a bit in this outing. It was not a nervous laughter, there were just more well thought out dialogue one-liners (“release the Kraken”) and great moments where the one-year old comes in and out of frame. Ah, the cuteness of the very young. There is no defense against it! Just like there is no defense against a determined demon.
All in all, it was an enjoyable sequel/prequel. I laughed, shouted obscenities, and gave kudos directly to the screen. I got goosebumps and shivers enough to give the film good marks. But since the first film was such a breath of fresh air, harkening back to the true indie, “The Blair Witch Project”, “Paranormal Activity 2” feels just slightly used.Worth: Matinee or Netflix
I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!