Review: Paranormal Activity 2

Paranormal Activity 2 cost a mere $3 mil to make and has since grossed $156 mil worldwide,which makes it an exceptional investment and explains why Paramount has since announced a third installment,due this October.

I personally found this a frightening film,but beyond this,it expands on the innovative pseudo-reality of its predecessor. What began as a couple with a video camera (my review of the first PA here),is now a full-fledged family with a home security system. It now banks on a Big Brother approach where the view is often a static room,the atmosphere infused with banal chit-chat,and the immense feeling of dread that something is about to happen.

Paranormal Activity 2 tracks a family of four (discounting their adorable dog) who find themselves terrorised by a supernatural force,whose name and form is kept a mystery, and the beauty of this is that it feeds on our fear,it is without a certain source or cure.But this we already know,this isn’t new.

What I absolutely love is how they’ve really grown the original idea,and made what was before a creepy,fascinating and highly viral idea into a well-narrated,bona fide film that uses conventional narrating techniques and doesn’t stray too far into experimentation. The three speaking characters we have are made sufficient for the script,they are strong personalities and each encapsulate an aggressive,though familiar point of view.

In dealing with the paranormal events,they each present a different approach and the plot trails them individually most times,as a whole it becomes dynamic and interesting. The two characters without speech,their newborn baby and the dog,both play pivotal roles in building the suspense and telling a horror film in the language of fear,both of them react and communicate with the forces pasts our immediate tangent.

It has the look and feel of a simple film where you think its just an average family and a few cameras,but the minimalism is misleading,they’ve crossed over into new angles,make best with the few ingredients they have,and is I think,an exponentially evolved film from the first.

Now,I have to try elaborate on my favorite aspect of it without giving too much away.This is perhaps the first sequel I’ve since that links and is built so well from its preceding product. The two films are tied strongly plot-wise,which really ups the ante. There is a solid timeline that includes both,and I feel that they could easily have made an entirely new film that is all kinds of crazy and full of blood,gore,things going boom,and still have made a lot of money. But instead it is controlled and efficient,I feel that before they begun working on anything,a lot of energy was spent on the storyboard.

The flaws are still undeniable,I don’t enjoy how the film is at times catapulted forward by speculation,a girl doing online research or a foreign maid who’s meant to be some supernatural expert. These are trite elements and the last few scenes,where a man runs around berserk with a camera on nightvision,is a cheap and concieted way to end a film.

It is a very,very slow film that requires you to know that all that waiting will have its payoff,and despite its flaws,I appreciated the creativity that went into making it something bigger,better than the first and how it is still a well-made horror film that still maintains all the appearances of a small-budget,indie project.


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