The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Paranormal 2

By Joshua Knopp/entertainment editor

Paramount Pictures owes a public apology to pretty much everyone who worked on 2009’s prolific hit Paranormal Activity.

The studio should apologize for the prequel/sequel Paranormal Activity 2, which took on its predecessor’s premise but none of its cutting-edge cinematography.

Paranormal Activity 2 starts out as a prequel to Paranormal Activity, introducing Kristi (Sprague Grayden), the sister of the first movie’s Katie (Katie Featherston) and bringing in her husband Dan (Brian Boland), her stepdaughter Ali (Molly Ephraim) and the 1-year-old boy Hunter as the targets of a demonic haunting.

After their new house is seemingly broken into in the beginning of the film, they have six security cameras installed, which they use in addition to their handheld camera to capture the haunting. The last five minutes of the movie function as a sequel, however.

The use of multiple cameras is one of three things that completely breaks the movie. Instead of one stationary camera in Micah and Katie’s bedroom obscuring what goes on outside their door, all of the demon’s advances are captured in grisly detail by the security cameras. The essence of Paranormal Activity was that the unseen was much more frightening than what is revealed, and Paranormal Activity 2 proves the point in the worst possible way.

Because of this camera setup, scares that led initial audience members of the first film to actually walk out because they were too scared become telegraphed, predictable and boring.

Another change was the budget. Paranormal Activity cost only $15,000 to make and grossed almost $200 million, an almost 13,000 percent return on investment for the studio. This obscene profit was the legacy of the film, perhaps even more than its brilliant camerawork.

How does Paramount Pictures follow this up? By pumping $3 million into the prequel/sequel, more than doubling the size of the cast and crew and adding six security cameras into the budget. It seems that the cameras, in addition to bleeding out the film’s artistic value, cut deep into its monetary value as well.

The most damning departure from the original, however, is the demon’s behavior. Paranormal Activity wasn’t scary because audiences couldn’t see the demon, nor because the demon had complete power over the protagonists. It was scary because, throughout the film, the demon essentially goofs off. It lazes about the house at night, seemingly existing only to scare the characters.

In Paranormal Activity 2, however, the same demon is completely professional, making systematic, well-thought-out attempts to get Hunter. It even asserts that the entirety of the first film, which is ridiculously sandwiched into the middle of this one’s timeline, was the demon’s second campaign to get at Hunter, this time through his aunt. This change ruins the character developed in the first film, changing him from a creature of pure sadism to a villain with a plan, which is nowhere near as frightening.

Overall, Paranormal Activity 2 seems to be more concerned with developing a continuity for its characters to live in rather than making audience members lose sleep.

Final Take: An attempt to continue the story of Paranormal Activity with no regard for its essence

Those who would enjoy it: People who enjoy unintentional humor

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