A prequel/lead-in that makes the original into an even better film.
Paranormal Activity 2 is sort of a prequel/tie in to the huge hit that was Paranormal Activity. In the prequel, a family’s house is tampered with one evening. As a way to fight their fears, the father has a security system installed to prevent the incident from ever happening again. The family soon learns that maybe their house was not broken into but is rather haunted by something that they can’t see. Now, the family must try to unravel the events that continue to occur and hope that they can stop it from happening again.
When I originally saw the trailer for Paranormal Activity 2, I was upset. All I could think was why the heck are they doing a sequel to that film? I am one of those people who found the original to be very overrated. That might be because I saw the film so late in the game but to me it wasn’t scary and extremely boring. I definitely was not on the band wagon when I saw the trailer for the sequel. Avoiding the film in the theaters, I decided to pick up the sequel when I was out and decided to sit down last night and watch it.
Paranormal Activity 2 actually serves as a companion piece instead of a direct lead in or prequel to the original film. You SHOULD watch the original before you see this one. There are a lot of connections between the two and the end result kind of plays out like the “Saw” films. This sequel or say prequel actually for the first time makes the original feel like a better film. Its hard to explain but I will try. The original had very little story and not much background. This film has more story and is better explained. Also, Activity 2, probably, because of its bigger budget looks better and feels more realistic for some reason. I thought that was odd since the original was actually filmed for next to nothing and had a smaller cast in a real house but something about the house in this film made it feel more authentic to watch.
When you talk about a film flowing, its all about its pace and how the film shapes its story. This movie flows well. It starts off rather rough and I was well on my way to start mocking it within the first 10 minutes. However, when the film hits the 25 to 30 minute mark, it becomes a lot better and actually keeps you on the edge of your seat in suspense. I think the action scenes are much more scary in this film and I actually jumped a few times here and there. I think that bringing in elements like a dog and baby added to the creepiness of the film. We all have seen films with couples being haunted by things but when a baby and a dog are, well that’s something new.
I realize that Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the original, was trying to pull a Blair Witch Project on its audience. Nowadays, after films like that and the rise of amazing reality television (why oh why does it exist), I know I can’t really believe that a film like this is true. I think both films try to be believable and work for the most part. If I wasn’t a victim to bad reality television, I would have probably believed the first film was real that is until I saw that the filmmaker released multiple alternate endings. The scares of this film come from the unknown. There is something just simply chilling about the paranormal. It’s creepiness comes from that idea alone and it works.
I do realize that many have said that this film is poorly acted and I have to agree with that mark but these are suppose to be real people so it fits the tone of the film. I can’t say I liked any of the characters in the film, while I actually didn’t mind Katie and Micah in the original. In that case, the first film is better for having more likable characters. The characters here were very whinny and actually unlikable from the start. They also seemed a bit more silly than those in the original.
In the end, Paranormal Activity 2 does two things that rarely occurs in film. First, its better than the original and the second is that it actually made me like the original film. I know, I am shocked myself. After watching the sequel, I immediately put the original on and watched it from start to finish. The storyline in the sequel helped connect some of those weird what the hell? moments that occurred in the original. It also helped make the original film feel scarier. I think that’s a rare feat for movies like this. I admire films that actually create suspense from nothing. It takes a skilled writer or writers to create a story that is scary without actually seeing something. I can’t believe I am going to say this but I am now a fan of Paranormal Activity 1 & 2 and am excited to see the third film. I just hope that everyone involved don’t overstay their welcome and keep these going like every other successful horror series. They should just stop with the trilogy and not try to push their luck.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Paranormal Activity 2 is a 7 out of 10.