Paranormal Activity 2
paranormal activity | paranormal activity 2 | sequel | tod williams | michael r. perry | christopher b. landon | tom pabst | katie featherston | micah sloat | molly ephraim | demon | haunted | haunted house | found footage | found-footage | sprague grayden | brian boland
Film: Paranormal Activity II
Director: Tod Williams
Writer: Michael R. Perry, Christopher B. Landon and Tom Pabst
Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat and Molly Ephraim
I remember when I first saw this film in the theater. I really liked the original one so when I heard there was a sequel, I jumped on the chance to see it. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I liked it more since they expanded on what the original did. I have seen this a few times now throughout the years and gave it a viewing with Jaime since I wanted to do a more proper review of it. It also fell into the HoopTober movie challenge I’m doing on Letterboxd for a few categories. The synopsis here is after experiencing what they think are a series of “break-ins”, a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
This movie has an interesting opening with a warning and sending out wishes to the families of the deceased as well as stating this footage is from the Carlsbad Police Department. For this sequel though, we are following the Reys. Kristi (Sprague Grayden) is the sister of Katie (Katie Featherston). Kristi is married to Daniel (Brian Boland) and the footage starts on the day that they bring home their new son Hunter (William Juan Prieto and Jackson Xenia Prieto). Daniel also has a daughter who is a bit older of Ali (Molly Ephraim).
One day they come home to find that their house is trashed and they believe someone broke in. Daniel decides that he is going to install security cameras all around the house. This is where we get most of the footage that we see. He does also have a hand-held camera that both he and Ali carry. It is interesting that this gives the idea to Micah (Micah Sloat), the boyfriend of Katie, which semi leads into the events that happen with them.
Much like in the previous film, weird things start to happen and with the security cameras, it adds an extra element. Pots fall from a hanging rack, the pool cleaner keeps leaving the pool, there are weird bumping noises and Hunter seems to be focusing on something that no one else can see. Ali with her boyfriend might make it worse with holding a séance with an Ouija board. They also have a maid of Martine (Vivis Colombetti) who feels something dark there, but they let her go before she can help.
This family is faced with a tough choice as Ali discovers what this demon could be after. They don’t want to accept it, but this movie adds a bit more mythology than what Micah and Katie discover. This movie starts as prequel, but continues the events from where they are left in the original as well.
Now that is where I wan to leave my recap to get you up to speed. I will reiterate that I like a lot of what this movie is doing. The first one was a hit for how little of a budget they needed and just using the hand held camera. For a sequel, you really need to go bigger and introducing the idea of the security cameras is great. This isn’t the first film to do something like this, but it does it better than some movies in my opinion for sure.
What I will say that is I know a big gripe from people is that these movies don’t really have anything happen. I do agree with that for this movie as I feel that it does less. We do get some things with a baby and then some things at the end, but really that’s about it. The original plays more with the psychological as Katie descends into madness. Kristi does as well, but no one near. The aspects with the baby are a bit nerve racking. Adding the dog though is another element I like as they’re more in tune with the supernatural from what people say.
Something I have brought up and like is building the mythology though. I think this movie adding that element works for me as it feels like a bridge to what we get with the third and fourth films. Now I can’t give too much credit here for that, because they were probably in the works, but if this movie tanks, then they don’t come along. It could still end here and it doesn’t ruin the story either.
What really works for this movie though is the family. I would say the acting is solid across the board. It isn’t in a way where anyone is going to win awards, but as I say, found footage works for me when the families feel natural. I really like Grayden. She doesn’t get as much of a descent like Katie got in the first movie, but her child makes me feel for her. Boland is in the same boat. I like that he’s the rock trying to keep everyone sane, but eventually, he has to see the truth. Ephraim is solid along with her boyfriend of Seth Ginsberg as Seth. I do like the cameos by Sloat and Featherston as well to tie things all together.
Where I’ll go next is to the effects of the movie. I’ve already said I like the introduction of the security cameras. I think it helps with the realism of why they are using cameras all the time that are a gripe in this sub-genre. We do get some things with hand-held camera that works for me. It did off vibes of [Rec], which I can appreciate. Aside from that, I think the other effects are good. I know there is a bit of CGI or at least someone in a green suit. None of it goes over the top to look fake so I can work with that.
Something that I do want to bring up here is the sound design before closing out. They don’t really use it as strategic as they do in the original. We do get the heavy footsteps and banging around, but not as much. Dog barking and baby crying sounds work as something different, especially since it made me feel bad for them. Not as effective, but nothing to ruin the movie. It just doesn’t add enough though. I’m still glad they didn’t include music and ruin the effect.
Now with that said, this is a solid follow-up. For me and most people, sequels need to take what the original did and up it. I think that this movie does that. Having a connected family and building on the mythology of this entity is something I like. Adding the security camera footage after a ‘break-in’ does as well. I think the acting comes off natural and feels real. If I have any issues, I think that they go a little lighter on things happening and the sound design isn’t as effective. Despite this gripes, I still think this is an above average movie, just bordering on being good.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10