Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paranormal Activicty 2 Review

The whole point of a sequel is to give us more - more thrills, more jumps, more action. Usually the "more" aspect can ruin a good thing. The first film was a wonderful, scary surprise and it ended so well that the thought of a sequel made me rolls my eyes at first. Plus releasing a sequel a year later would seem to be a sign that the studio is cashing in, and that this is something for them to milk as quickly as they can. Needless to say, I had my doubts. Sure the trailer looked creepy, but would the actual film live up to everyone's expectations?

Being a fan of scary/horror films, I had no choice but to give it shot. So some friends and I ventured to the theater opening night to see
Paranormal Activity 2. We had a blast! The theater was packed with people in for a good scare. And a great scare is what we got. It's no wonder it was #1 at the box office last weekend, ranking in a whopping $40.7 million. That's really impressive for any horror movie opening, let alone a sequel. If you thought the first film was scary/creepy, just wait until you see this new installment, directed by Tod Williams.

Our story begins one year after the Rey family brings home their new born baby boy. The father Daniel (Brian Boland), mother Kristie (Sprague Grayden), and her teenage stepdaughter Ali (Molly Ephraim) are alarmed when they come home to a ransacked house. Naturally assuming it was a break-in, despite that fact that only a necklace given to Kristie from her big sister Katie (
Katie Featherston) was missing, they decide to install surveillance cameras around the inside and outside of their suburban home. Over the next three weeks, they will discover that the culprit is actually living inside the house, and is far from human.

I really liked how this sequel tied into the first film - it's actually more of prequel than a sequel. And because of the surveillance cameras around the house, I felt this film was more believable than the first. If you're honestly terrified the last think you're going to grab, while b-lining out the front door, running for your life, is your video camera. And what's great about these horror films is they don't rely on gore to freak the audience out - ahem, Saw anyone? It's the evil, never seen demon that does the freaking, but more importantly it's the lack of music. With this film, even more than the original, there's a wonderful, quiet rhythm that settles in very quickly, and it's the slow burn that makes it work so well. With each night, the same pattern of shots is used to establish the pace we're dealing with, and what happens to disrupt that rhythm is what truly becomes terrifying. Since there's no score at all the entire movie uses ambient noises and that's really what cranks up the mood. It's all depended on the situation and the way these people react to the situation, and Williams proves himself brilliantly with this sequel/prequel.

The ending was pretty bleak though. It all happened too quickly and with little surprise, but all in all it was a horrifyingly fun movie. The best horror films are the ones that make us forget that we are safe, they make us feel like we're right there, hanging out over oblivion, alone in the dark with only haunting sounds around us. And that's exactly what this film did. I definitely had trouble sleeping that night, that's for sure. But it's the most fun you'll have being scared in 2010, no doubt about it. So if you're in the mood for a scare-fest this is definitely the movie to see.

What did you think?


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