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[Reviewed by: Danny Moltrasi]

“Nothing can prepare you...”

First of all, let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the original Paranormal Activity. I thought it was spooky, atmospheric and creepy. Paranormal Activity 2, on the other hand, throws all of this away and resorts to cheap jump out scares. Pretty much everything that made Paranormal Activity good, and one of the biggest successes of 2009 cinema, is sadly left. Instead what we are given is an annoying family who have a pool cleaning machine that goes on walkabouts. Not exactly high art.

The film takes place before the original, focusing on a family that consists of mother Kristi Rey, her husband Dan, daughter Alli and their newborn son Hunter. Kristi is the sister of Katie from the original film. The action really kicks in sixty days before the death of Katie’s husband in the original, after Kristi’s house has been broken into, trashed, but nothing taken. This prompts the family to install a number of cameras around the house in order to make sure that if anything happens again, it will all be caught on video. These cameras, plus the handheld camera they sometime use make up the film, as we are selectively shown different instances of ‘paranormal activity’ over the spread of a few weeks.

To start with, the film is pretty boring. We have (what feels like) a very slow, long build up to when all the spooky stuff happens. These moments are filled with mundane things that are never really explained. Why is the dog barking at the window? Why does the spirit like to take the pool cleaner out of the water? It is all just pretty stupid. This is meant to be tension building, but it completely fails. This perhaps is the biggest difference between the two films. During the first film, I was in a packed cinema, and every time it went to a night scene, and low intake of breath occurred around the cinema as people were expecting to be freaked out. This time, there was silence. No tension, nothing. As mentioned before, these creepy moments of the original are replaced with loud bangs. Throughout the film, suddenly everything becomes quiet…and then, yes a very loud noise happens, everyone jumps, everyone laughs at themselves for jumping. But is that really, really scary? Not for me anyway.

Now, onto the family of main characters, who are even more irritating than the boyfriend from the original. However, the main concern/annoyance is the way that the poor nanny is treated and represented. She is Spanish speaking (assuming Mexican), so of course, she a crazy Catholic who after a slight suggestion of bad things going on, instantly whips out her cross and tries to smoke the bad demons away. This, to my absolute amazement, led to her being sacked by the family, for her ‘voodoo’ practices. However, this isn’t the last we see of her, no way! When the shit really starts to hit the fan, who is the first person the family call? The police? Nope. The medical services? Nope. They call the little old nanny to perform some form of exorcism on the mother. Really…? It is just so bizarre, and of course, just a little bit racist. Paranormal Activity 2 attempts to feign that it is a real occurrence, which is more than fair enough, but it has to then keep to what would be realistic responses to these happenings! If the family were so scared that this thing was going to hurt them, wouldn’t the first thing they would do is move their young child into their bedroom? Its little things like this that makes it so unbelievable. These are not real responses.

Paranormal Activity 2 is not half as good as the original, and is not really worth the time to go and see it. The first one stands head and shoulders above this, and plays the scares a lot better than this.

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Comments
  1. renmiked says:

    ********SPOILERS***********

    I do think that the first PA was better and built tension in a different way, but I was not disappointed at all in the sequel. The male leads in both films were irritating and at times I wanted them dead. The things I didn’t like were the daughter gets locked out of the house for a half an hour and doesn’t call the police, after finding the front door open and the general interaction between the sisters. They definitely used different, some would say cheap, scare tactics but they were effective. The one thing I found much more intense about 3 was the use of the baby. If you have a young child it is a much more intense experience. You are constantly either ready to kill the adults for stupidity or rooting for the dog to save the day. Overall I enjoyed it but it is not the original.

  2. Danny Moltrasi says:

    You are right about when the girl gets locked out. There just seems to be no logic in what the characters did. She could have phoned the police as you said, she could have gone to a neighbours house to ask for help/contact parents etc. We arent even told were she went for the time she was out.

    And yeah, I loved the dog too. I wanted him to save everyone.

  3. See en says:

    I thought the dog was a she? But anyway, there are a lot of things that could be pointed out in the movie. I thought both the first and second were okay. The first builds up tension…to nothing. The second just went right out with booms. I agree that their reactions weren’t exactly the most realistic. I even found some of the scenes funny. And in the first one, I was wondering the whole time why they don’t bother turning on the lights. I personally wouldn’t have the guts to get out of my bed when I hear strange things somewhere in the house. In any case, the only thing that really bothered me was the dad’s a-hole move to burn the picture of Katie, transferring the demon to her. Jerk.

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