Paranormal Activity isn't a movie for everyone. Some would argue it's not really a movie, but more like a recorded experience more akin to a carnival ride. So, if Paranormal Activity is the County Fair, then Paranormal Activity 2 would be Universal Studios.
The new sequel from director Tod Williams is pretty much exactly what you'd expect: everything we saw in the first installment, just slicked up a little and more of it. The premise is almost an exact clone of the original, this time following a suburban family who installs security cameras in their house following what they think is a break-in, but we know better.The film, much like its predecessor, plays out mostly on cold, static overhead shots of different rooms of the house, as well as some outdoor footage giving us a tricky glimpse at the pool-cleaner, which set the ominous tone and allow the scares to become effective. In this day and age, where horror movies are trying to throw as much blood, guts, blades and jump scares at you, it's nice to see a franchise taking the opposite approach. It's clearly a smart move, pioneered last year by Oren Peli, to create tension using calmness, so that the audience is on the edge of their seat when the paranormal weirdness starts happening.
Some people might call that boring, but it does work... at least if you allow yourself to get caught up in the ruse. Those not easily scared in movies will probably find the crowd reactions more amusing than the film, while the avid cinephile might delight in looking for how each effect has been achieved. Either way, this is not your typical theatrical experience, trading in traditional plot for something more experiential.
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While the acting and camera work is a little too polished to be a genuine amateur production, it gets the job done, but isn't quite as believable as it was the first time around. Still, the cat's out of the bag and everyone knows this is all staged anyway, so that's kind of a moot point, because what's there actually does creep and scare.
It's safe to say that if you enjoyed the first one, you'll also like this. In other words, Williams has made a sequel that holds up well against its forefather.