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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.86%
Worth A Look: 11.43%
Just Average45.71%
Pretty Crappy: 37.14%
Sucks: 2.86%

2 reviews, 23 user ratings

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Paranormal Activity 2
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Well, if you loved the first one, here's more of that thing you love."
3 stars

The secret of the "Paranormal Activity" films, visually, is their dead-eyed perspective.

In the first film, much of the spooky stuff unfolded in front of a static camcorder. In Paranormal Activity 2, we spend a lot of time looking at surveillance-camera footage. This is the opposite of shaky-cam; it’s from-beyond-the-grave-cam. The unmoving camera just stares, blankly and without editorializing, and waits for something to happen. The point of view is chillingly remote, indifferent to the characters’ fear and suffering; everything is merely recorded. In a way, this blanched footage harks back to the beginnings of American horror cinema, from the silents to the early ‘30s, when directors like Tod Browning just let scenes play out in stoic set-ups and gather quiet dread.

Put the two films together and you have a pretty good fit; they proceed from and amplify each other. Paranormal Activity 2 isn’t much as its own movie; it essentially pulls out the same bag of tricks — the thumps in the night, the invisible forces pulling people out of the room. When the movie is feeling particularly boisterous, a bunch of kitchen-cabinet doors open at once. The filmmakers go a long, long way solely on the audience’s queasy anticipation of what’s to come. Some will say the way is too long; at the Saturday-night screening I attended, there was a bit of is-something-going-to-happen-sometime-soon grumbling, and a little kid sitting near me — an Ebert in training — commented loudly, “When is the movie going to start?”

To avoid spoilers, some of the following will read as inaccurate, or at least incomplete, to those who’ve seen the film. Paranormal Activity 2 follows a different couple in a different house; they have a baby son, and the father has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage. Things start happening, slowly at first, and in small doses. The automatic pool cleaner keeps ending up outside the pool overnight. The family dog senses something. So does the Mexican housekeeper, who performs smudging rituals to evict “bad spirits” until the skeptical father fires her. The father, who owns a Burger King franchise, has a lot of money; the house is spacious and impersonal. Both films, actually, pack a “When Bad Paranormal Things Happen to Well-Off People” subtext; any family that can afford a pool that size must have done something to deserve the visitations of a demon.

The teenage girl thinks it’s cool that the house apparently has a ghost, until things get uncool and it’s clear that the entity is a good deal more malicious. The movie is a bit front-loaded with ominous mood — perhaps the first 45 minutes or so — and then, when there finally is paranormal activity, things feel rushed. A desperate decision is made, tying the sequel in with the original, and finishing off with a triple sting. Right now, the two films operate as a smooth unit — someday the whole thing might play well viewed in one big gulp via seamless branching on a Blu-ray. But viewing Paranormal Activity 2 a year apart feels unavoidably like more of the same.

I sincerely hope Paramount doesn’t milk this thing for more sequels, but since this film made back twice its cost solely on the Thursday-night midnight showing, get ready for another few years of nocturnal bumps, closing doors, low-frequency rumbles, and night-vision commercials of audiences shitting their pants at the latest sequel.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=20231&reviewer=416
originally posted: 10/24/10 10:38:19
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User Comments

1/05/16 brian How to do a "found footage" film. It's still just meh, but not awful. 3 stars
8/26/12 David Pollastrini The best of the series. 4 stars
3/09/11 action movie fan good sequel to first-some really scary moments 4 stars
2/13/11 mr.mike Some good scares , still pales in comparison with # 1. 3 stars
2/07/11 Kim Kelly In real life this would be terrifying, on screen it was so so 3 stars
11/24/10 ALICE I think they are both very good ! 4 stars
11/17/10 joey johnson Could of done without seeing, First one was much better. 3 stars
11/09/10 mistermanager I have the first one on bluray 5 stars
11/09/10 Steve Benkin I laughed thru the entire movie.. and so did the rest of the audience. Need I say more? 2 stars
11/05/10 dean shuck boring,,just like the first,maybe a little better 3 stars
11/02/10 damalc better in parts, the same bad shit as the first in parts 2 stars
10/30/10 M.J. The first one didn't scare me at all and this one was even worse. 3 stars
10/29/10 tooktheredpill brians rating is right, but first movie was much better 2 stars
10/29/10 Debra DeLeone Not as good as the firstovie. 3 stars
10/28/10 Kim Kelly Not as scary on screen as it would be terrifying in real life.. but fun overall 3 stars
10/27/10 dale schmucker too predicable 3 stars
10/25/10 Stormy Rockweather nice to the kids are clamoring for straight-up scares, too bad they pay for shit like this 1 stars
10/24/10 Juan S while not exactly innovative, the film had some scenes of genuine tension. its aiight 3 stars
10/24/10 David A. The reality tv format gets boring after a while, and the daughter's screeching is annoying. 2 stars
10/24/10 Ming I did not like the 1st one...This one is the same formula..Stupid ending 2 stars
10/24/10 Flounder Mr. Ondore's review is WAY off the mark. This is a superlative horror picture. 4 stars
10/23/10 Ace-of-Stars Unnecessary sequel. This one's too busy, pretentious & over-the-top. Ruins the 1st movie. 2 stars
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  22-Oct-2010 (R)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2011


  DVD: 08-Feb-2011

Directed by
  Tod Williams

Written by
  Michael R. Perry

  Katie Featherston

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