"Paranormal Activity 2" Movie Review

10/30/2010 Posted by Admin

"Paranormal Activity 2"

Movie Review

Directed by Tod Williams, written by Michael R. Perry, 91 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

The prequel to Oren Peli's “Paranormal Activity” once again proves that in a horror movie, often the less you see, the more intense the story.

Given Hollywood’s more-is-more sensibility, that concept usually is tossed in the Shasta can, so when a movie like this comes along that actually allows one's imagination to stand in for the special effects, it makes for a more unnerving film. That's what this movie has going for it--it trusts the viewer.

"Paranormal Activity 2" hails from director Tod Williams from Michael R. Perry's script, and the great news is that they didn't mess with the first film's formula. In fact, the film somehow elevates the first film. It deepens that movie because it takes place two months before the first movie, and thus informs what came before it.

In the first film, Micah (Micah Sloat) and his girlfriend Katie (Katie Featherston) were terrorized by demons in their San Diego home. This film focuses on three people--Katie's sister, Kristi (Sprague Grayden), her husband (Brian Boland) and daughter (Molly Ephraim), all of whom find themselves in the same nightmare Katie and Micah endured--a demon is set free upon them and turns their lives into a living hell. But enough said about that--anything more would spoil the movie.

What can be said is this: Ingeniously, Williams and his screenwriters incorporate Micah and Katie into the script--each actor returns, which will surprise those who saw the first film, and their presence adds a chilling effect. Those who saw the first movie know what's in store for them--they know the outcome. That Micah and Katie are here before their own crisis with demons strikes only amplifies what's in store for Kristi and her family as the film unfolds.

Throughout, there’s much to admire--how spare the movie is, how its undercurrent of horror gradually reveals itself to us and then consumes us, its genuine jolts of terror, and particularly the acting, which is trickier than some might think.

What we’re viewing is supposed to be a homemade video stitched together with surveillance footage, and so to pull that off in this story, the actors had to come off as real people aware of the camera in most scenes, annoyed by it in others, and absolutely unaware of it when they were shocked out of the moment by the otherworldly.

Since so much of the dialogue was adlibbed, the difficulty level of carrying the movie forward was even more of a challenge. This wasn't an easy gig.

But they make it look easy.

Grade: A-

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  1. Jeanne From NC said...

    I was shaking for like an hour after watching this movie! REALLY good! I didn't realize it was a prequel. I couldn't believe they had little kids in the showing I was in. Even my husband loved it! He doesn't even want to watch the first one on netflix cuz they are both so good :)