Paranormal Activity 2
How do you judge a horror movie? ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ stands alone as a horror Best Picture Winner and therefore it seems uncharitable to expect filmmaking brilliance. The one prerequisite of a good horror movie seems to be that it scares you, and so this seems the fairest way in which to judge ‘Paranormal Activity 2′. Did it scare me? A little, but there were certainly other people in the cinema for whom the answer would be ‘A LOT!@$!#^!’
My first recommendation would be to see the first movie before going to see the sequel. The producers made the interesting (and slightly artistic) decision to go back in time and explain how the curse got transferred to Katie and Micah in the first place. It’s an interesting premise for a sequel and the various pieces of the puzzle fall into place quite well, especially with regards to the (slightly bizarre) ‘We must tell no one’ attitude of the characters of both movies. Other elements are so daubed in horror cliché that they seem an insult to the basic premise of the film- particularly the Cassandra of the movie, a fired old Latina maid who tries to banish the evil spirits. If I could step into horror movies one of the first things that I would tell the characters is to never discount the advice of an old mystic, especially of foreign nationality. But I can’t and they always do.
As for the actors, they do a much better job than the original cast. There are more of them to start with (the new unit is a family of four) but their acting goes some way towards being believable. Indeed the weakest acting comes when Katie (yep, the psycho from the first movie) returns to the screen as the lead actress’s sister. Not such a bright star. What about their reactions to the burgeoning horror of their suburban Californian lives? Well, not terribly convincing to be honest. It takes the father to see his wife being smashed around the house by some malign force before he finally abandons his stoic defense of reason. As for the kid daughter, well no one in their right mind should jump that quickly to demonic possession especially when her information seemed to come from Wikipedia. Turns out Wikipedia has it down to a tee on the subject of paranormal infestations.
A mildly scary film and an antidote to the gross out torture porn of the Saw and Hostel franchise. Worth seeing for low budget film making (a cool $3 million budget) and the scares that can be acheived with slamming doors and exploding cabinets. At least as good as the original.