Saturday, October 30, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2

Today I saw Paranormal Activity 2, starring Sprague Grayden and Molly Ephraim.

I've arrived at the point where I cringe when I hear the announcement of a sequel. In recent years, very few sequels (save for Toy Story) have lived up to my expectations, and when I like the original film so much, I fear a bad second one will tarnish my memory of it.

That wasn't the case today when I saw the second installment of this independent horror success story. Today's film was more of a prequel than a sequel, but since it ends after the first one, I guess it's still technically a sequel.

Anyway, in this one we spend time with the sister, Kristi (Grayden), of the original star Katie (Katie Featherston), who makes a few appearances too.

Kristi has recently given birth to the first son on her side of the family in many generations. Her stepdaughter Ali (Ephraim) learns of this fun fact after she begins researching demons due to weird occurrences in their home. Doors open and close on their own, the dog reacts to 'nothing' and the automatic pool cleaner moves out of the water each night.

Dad (Brian Boland) believes nor witnesses any of it, but when the house is trashed and nothing is stolen, he installs surveillance cameras to try to catch the intruders. This footage point of view is how the audience sees the film 90% of the time.

Without giving anything away, the same tension and delayed jolts permeate this film the way they did the first, and surprisingly the effect is not diminished by anticipation. Though the plot is similar, even involving some of the same characters, at the heart of the plot the question "Why?" keeps everything interesting.

Why does this family have to endure this torture? What is the root reason of their link to the paranormal world? Will we ever know exactly what happened in the family's fire years ago?

The ending leaves all of these questions without answers, but remains satisfying because of the authentic feel of the cast and the less-shaky camera-work, which was a welcome improvement from the original.

All in all, this is a great movie to see if you want to stay spooked.

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