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October 25, 2010

Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

As I sat in the theater alone, I think that I enjoyed the movie experience more than the actual movie itself.  It was great to go to the movies early in the afternoon on a Friday, and not have to deal with cell phones or crying children and their parents.  Having said this, Paranormal Activity 2 wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t that good either.  One of the complaints that I had about both movies is that the family relationship is too perfect to begin with-I mean there isn’t any arguing or fighting or even any bad days before the demon arrives.  This lack of “normal behavior” of everything going too perfect is even more noticeable in the second edition.  The mixed family in Paranormal Activity 2 gets along perfectly.  There are no issues between the stepmother, and the daughter nor are there any issues in general.  You won’t hear any money concerns, or any normal everyday problems in paranormal world.   Perhaps everything is just too perfect.  Then, when the demon arrives everything goes haywire.  The family just falls apart so easily, and the tension is made to feel even more overwhelming due to the perfectly perfect family relationship before.

Buy Paranormal Activity 2 on DVD

Now, I have to admit that there were a couple of times that I jumped but I was alone in a darkened theater watching this movie without another human being in sight except for the big screen.  But, the jumps were only that-slight jumps because they caught me off guard.  There was nothing in this movie, no scare big enough, to keep me up at night or to make me nervous on the bus ride home.  In fact, the scares are also too perfectly assembled to be really scary.  I mean if you think about it, and pay attention to what is happening on screen you know where the next scare is about to come from.  I did think that the flow from one movie to the next, from one scare to the other, was a bit muddled at first but Tod Williams does a good job at hooking the two movies together at the last possible moment.  But, Williams lacks what Oren Peli brought to the screen which was a more laid back approach on screen to what was happening in the house.  Therefore, we had fun with Katie and Micah as they were trying to figure out what was wrong with their home and we could laugh when Micah made jokes because it was really seen as no big deal. But in the sequel, we have a totally different approach.  When the haunting is brought up, there are no giggles.  It is either entirely dismissed as utter nonsense, or not spoken about as to not make it worse.

It was good to see Katie and Micah back again.  They made the new couple seem more mature, and developed.  Brian Boland does a good job at being the skeptic father, but he turns around too quickly and becomes a believer with just a bit of a push from daughter Ali played by Molly Ephraim who replaces Micah in the comedic and somewhat laid back role of side kick.  But, in the end this movie does not have the possible power of the first.  The ending is slightly comical, and it leaves you making jokes rather than scared out of your wits.  I suggest either seeing the first PA, or watching REC or The Blair Witch Project if you are just dying to see a horror movie with some video cameras.  Watch out for the possessed Katie, and baby Hunter in your backyard.  Pleasant Dreams and Happy Halloween.

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