It can’t be said the makers of the Paranormal Activity franchise have had a difficult time of it. Spending the minimum amount of money for maximum profit, their tactics have worked wonders. All they’ve needed are some cameras, actors and houses with creaky doors and a horror hit was born. The sequel continues this ‘no frills thrills’ motif with the easily adaptable concept given another spin on the money generating shock-o-metre.
When a family experience what they think is a series of break-ins, they install security cameras to catch the culprit. Watching the footage, they discover a paranormal entity is wreaking havoc. It holds a sinister familial connection and is after their newly born son. They attempt to banish the evil spirit. Refusing to surrender and ramping up its reign of terror, the vengeful ghost becomes the bane of their increasingly fractured existence.
Given that the first entry was a poor effort with laughable acting and few frights, the only way for this series to go was up. Fortunately the sequel is more engaging due to its expanded premise and additions to its mythology. What seemed vague in the first film is made clearer with the family’s horrific experiences connecting with previous events. This adds interest to an otherwise sparse narrative relying a little too heavily on its ‘noises in the night’ atmospherics.
It would have been great had it been more creative in generating tension – even if some scenes are quite effective. Tod William doesn’t so much direct as edit proceedings with the multiple-camera set up becoming somewhat tiresome. Although better than the single camera use from the first movie, the repetition of ‘cut and paste’-type visuals gets old very quickly with constantly shaking cameras often showing more personality than the people it films.
Given its small budget, Paranormal Activity 2 will most likely make another fortune. It’s a pity it will as its lack of inventiveness sets a bad precedent for future scary films where genuine frights are usually the most memorable.
Movie Review Rating 4 / 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Paranormal Activity 2 released in Australia on Thursday 21 October 2010.
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.