The final horror film of this Halloween season that I will review is Paranormal Activity 2. I was unsure of this one when I first saw the trailer. I had a bad feeling about it and was convinced, up until the day I saw it, that it was going to suck. I worried that it would suffer from the issues faced by countless sequels since Halloween 3 (Four more days till Halloween- Silver Shamrock).
Paranormal Activity 2 begins with a family who insists on filming the homecoming of their new baby, Hunter. We meet Hunter’s parents Kristi (Sprague Grayden – Olivia Turner from 24), Dan (Brian Boland) and Dan’s daughter from another marriage, Ali (Molly Ephraim). Also present are the nanny, Martine, and their German Shepherd, Abby. All in all, the typical all-American family with a Hispanic nanny. The beginning of the film is uneventful, but time is not completely wasted: we learn that Martine is either religious or superstitious. This is never really clarified, or if it was, it was explained in Spanish and was lost on me.
We skip a year or so of Hunter’s life and the film picks back up when the family comes home to find that apparently someone has broken in and trashed the place. Strangely, the only thing missing is the necklace given to Kristi by her sister, Katie. That’s Katie Featherston from Paranormal Activity, the only person given acting credit in the sequel.
Katie does play an important role in this film, which is confusing until Micah Sloat makes an appearance where we are told that the events on screen take place two months before Micah’s death. To say that this is a prequel is not accurate, though. It is more of a wrap-around of the first Paranormal Activity.
After the apparent break-in, Dan has some security cameras installed. If you can buy in to the fact that the tiny security cameras record sound, this is an effective way to continue the form of the first film with the addition of the hand held camera, most often operated by Ali.
Of course, things ramp up pretty quickly once the cameras are in place. One horror trope that does play out in this film (that I’m pretty sick of) is the adult who refuses to listen to the kid. I’ll just say that the kid is right and provides us all the explanation we need for the freaky occurrences. With a few well-placed jump scares and a couple scenes that some will surely call hair-raising, the film follows a similar pattern to the first one, but without the provocational d-bag – my least favorite part of the original.
This film is a good, old-fashioned scare and it is smarter than the original, but the ending lacks the punch that PA had. You do get a punch, but it is an interesting choice not to have it right at the end.
How much would I pay to see this one again? $7.00. I enjoyed it, quite a bit. Those that didn’t like the first one, don’t bother. If you did, give this one a shot.
While we’re on the subject of scary movies, what is your favorite movie for Halloween night? I usually start with Halloween, go to The Nightmare Before Christmas (for Trick-or-treating hours) and then move on to something a little more intense. This year, I think it will be Trick ‘r Treat.
Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast
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