Belated Review: Paranormal Activity 2

Wednesday October 27th 2010


Fuck what you heard, the first Paranormal Activity movie was great. And while I wouldn’t necessarily have green-lit a sequel myself, I did assume that at best we’d get an entirely new, equally original concept and at worst we’d get the exact same movie again (at least it would still be scary).

Instead, Paranormal Activity 2 systematically takes everything that worked the first time round and royally fucks it up. Observe:

Restrictions
The scariest thing about the first film was the horror of watching a single camera angle, thereby forcing your brain to imagine what might be lurking just off screen. In part two, there are five CCTV cameras and a handheld camera, so if and when there’s anything you’re not seeing, it’s through choice not necessity.
Authenticity
Five HD cameras running continuously over a period of months also begs the question as to where all this footage is going. We’re talking terabytes upon terabytes. And despite this, they never make any attempts to record over anything, even before they suspect the presence of spooky demons.

Characters
Two plausible characters are no longer enough for the franchise. Now we get six possible victims (eight if you count the dog and the baby) all of varying acting ability, including a teenage girl (look! she’s wearing a bikini!) and a devil-banishing Spanish nanny (lol, foreign nanny).

Disconnection
There’s a reason why most of the best horror films are original premises rather than remakes, sequels or adaptations. They offer almost no connections to other works, making it easier to get caught up inside them. PA2 would rather spend half its runtime reminding you what happened the first time around. Well, you wouldn’t want to lose the fanboys after all.
Ambiguity
Like all the shittest horror sequels, Paranormal Activity 2 possesses the mistaken belief that the audience want to know more about what’s ‘really going on’. So forget 90 minutes of unexplained haunting in a couple’s bedroom (nobody will ever watch that), and settle in for an hour and a half lecture on the politics of demon possession. Hold on to your seats.