Paranormal Activity 2 Defies The Rule Of Sequels And Delivers Bigger Scares
(USA, 2010, 91 mins)
You saw it first time around, and you were scared shitless. Don’t lie – the very sight of a three-footed invisible demon making an imprint in baby powder or thundering around invisibly at demonic speeds, dragging people towards its lair is enough to frighten the bejeezus and then some out of anyone. But as we all know, sequels are rubbish, especially when it comes to horror movies.
So why bother with “Paranormal Activity 2”? Because – and this is important – this isn’t just another Freddie vs Jason, or gore-and-guts torture fest (which SAW are we on now?!) This is a sequel that, for the first time in a very long time, actually works. It’s frightening, and not just for newcomers to the franchise but for lovers of the original film. The writers have done a great job in keeping the best part of the original, and what should stay elusive remains elusive, while other mysteries are solved. For a sequel, it incorporates the first film seamlessly into its script, while holding strongly on its own. And unlike most sequels, it’s a really good movie, although the shaky hand-held camera shots can be a little nauseating if you’re sitting up close.
It would be a crime worthy of a Katie murder to reveal what happens, but suffice to say, the scares are good and hard. “Paranormal Activity 2” acts as a prequel and sequel and it encompasses the first film, so we see the return of Katie and Micah while the main focus is on Katie’s sister, Kristi and her baby son Hunter. Throw in a teenage girl for some sass and easy screams and an Alsatian puppy, and it appears the writers have got all they need to deliver an absolutely riveting sequel. The choice to include a child and a pet were key elements in developing another dimension to the story, and it heightened the fear. I must confess that I had to avert my gaze when fear overcame me at moments (yes, I hid behind my hat – I’m not ashamed), but the film focused on what it did best first time around. Fear is best served when it is not seen – and “Paranormal Activity 2” makes sure to have you watching, anticipating and jumping out of your seat, just like a good, old-fashion horror movie should.