“Paranormal Activity 2” is, at best, a semi-successful attempt at re-captivating the audience that helped make the franchise’s first installment such a big hit.
Though the scares and suspense are moderately amplified in this film, it certainly fails to retain the acclaimed novelty and realism of “Paranormal Activity”, and those negatives slightly outweigh the positives.
This prequel, largely set only weeks and days prior to the events of the first film, utilizes virtually the exact same formula and plot as its predecessor.
Whereas the first movie followed Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston, this movie takes place in the home of Katie’s sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), husband Dan (Brian Boland), teenage daughter Ali (Molly Ephraim), brand new baby Hunter and his nanny, Martine (Vivis).
Initially, only Martine, Hunter, and family dog Abby feel the malicious presences inhabiting the house.
Martine tries to warn the family, but they instead fire her for performing her odd protective rituals.
The paranormal activity subsequently intensifies to a point where… well, you know, things get messy.
As the extraordinary occurrences become more and more treacherous, one must ask, “What are these people thinking?”
If a whole family was becoming seriously endangered in a house, one would imagine it would leave, or at least stay together during the nights, when it was most dangerous!
But, no, our characters have nothing valuable or intelligent to say throughout the whole film.
They are merely puppets, mindlessly leading us to the cheap scares this brand of movie facilitates.
Regardless, the audience will definitely jump and be scared on plenty of occasions, and the enjoyment in that exhilaration is enough sometimes, and makes the latter half of the movie fun.
The angst and suspense delivered in these scenes make up the best portion of the film.
The lead-up to those instances, though, where we are forced to watch the family’s fake social exchanges, is excruciatingly painful.
This period in the movie, along with the first couple of small ineffectual scares, lasts far too long.
These scenes garner more mocking laughs and exasperated sighs than anything, and are a large price to pay for the film’s payoffs.
When the actions finally ramps up and progresses into its climactic convergence, you will forget about what you had to go through to get there, if only momentarily.
There is also a neat little revelation provided that bridges this film’s plot with the first’s.
While the details, characters, and plot development involved in its story lack personality or creativeness, “Paranormal Activity 2” succeeds in its patented fright mechanisms, where it’s supposed too.