Film Reviews

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2

By • Oct 31st, 2010 •

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Clever and impressive. Slow-paced scary. Does not disappoint.

If you are bored with supposedly “hand-held” movies like THE LAST EXORCISM, CLOVERFIELD, and the movie that started it all – THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT – then PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 has taken it a step further. No more lousy, jerky taping.

The stars of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY are back and the screenwriters – as listed on IMDb.com – Michael R. Perry, Christopher B. Landon and Tom Pabst have come up with a very clever story. It begins a few months before Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are bothered by demons and, as you well know, Katie killed Micah and took off.

They are visiting Katie’s sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden) and her family. Kristi has just given birth to a son, Hunter. Kristi lives in a large suburban house with her husband, Daniel (Brian Boland), his teenage daughter, Ali (Molly Ephraim), Hunter’s Spanish-speaking live-in nanny, Martine (Vivis), and a dog, Abby.

As Hunter becomes a toddler, mysterious things begin to happen around the house. After a messy home-invasion break-in (though nothing was taken but a necklace), Daniel has six tiny cameras set up around the house: outside the front of the house, the pool area, entry way, living room, staircase, and in Hunter’s room.

The nanny knows the house has bad spirits and starts smudging sage all over the house. Daniel fires her.
We see what happens as days pass by the six stationery cameras.

By putting baby Hunter in danger, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 raises the stakes. It is creepy because it is so ordinary. The family is so uninteresting.

You wonder if it might be a possibility: Will the demon eat the baby?

I grew up in a house with a basement and a sub-basement. My parents told me that the Boogey Man lived in the sub-basement. I grew up scared to be alone in the house.

Rarely does the second film in a blockbuster surpass the original. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 does. I credit the screenwriters for giving us important background information in a throwaway line between Katie and Kristi.

It’s their mother’s fault! I knew it! Always blame mom.

Please, please don’t screw up PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 with redemption!

As a fellow critic noted, the actresses are entirely realistic normal-looking women. Featherston hasn’t lost any weight or had plastic surgery (as Brit sensation Carey Mulligan has been rumored to have done to transform herself into a Hollywood star). It is Boland as average husband Daniel who has the most clever lines and no-nonsense attitude.

As usual – where do they get these babies from? – the baby and the dog are terrific. Tod Williams must have a great deal of patience.

With small budget films like this making a huge profit, you would think Hollywood would cut back on extravagant salaries and excessive production perks and concentrate on story.

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