Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) Movie Review
directed by:Tod Williams
Reviewer Chris Power
After experiencing what they think are a series of “break-ins”, a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
It takes a lot to get me to a crowded theater these days – like free passes and beer. So when Chris Bridges (SFX master) asked if I wanted to check this out I said “sure” – but my expectations were low. Yet another one of these fuckin’ fake documentary horror movies…
(Full Disclosure: I released yet another one of those fuckin’ fake documentary horror movies earlier this year so take everything here with a huge pillar of salt.)
In the opening title card Paramount tells us they’ve changed the names to protect the survivors or something – gee, you’re so benevolent Paramount. Thanks, Paramount.
I guess this is a prequel to the first one – which honestly I didn’t get all the way through. You know the story: white, rich family with a new baby boy and the spunky teenage daughter, the mom and the aunt who always seem to be talking about their “strange childhood events” even though they don’t wanna talk about it on camera – but they do, but then they shouldn’t! No, wait – let’s leave it as a teaser for part 3.
Things go bump, rattle and then BUMP! I think the first three major scares were either sound effects or things as scary as a door opening by itself? – wtf?! Woah man that toy just moved… by itself!!!
In truth these cheap thrills did startle the audience, but so does dropping a heavy book in a quiet library. And btw since were on the sound designer what was with that constant bassy rumbling whenever we were supposed to feel tension. At first I actually thought it was the subway going by until I remembered we were four floors up.
A couple things I found interesting from a plot perspective:
1. At the beginning their house is “broken in to” but nothing is stolen. This prompts them to install hidden cameras everywhere – but no alarm system?! I know most decent security companies come with their own 24-hour live assistance – kinda like Onstar. From the size of the house you’d think they could afford it.
2. The teenage daughter does some internet research (which they are videotaping for some reason) and comes to the instant conclusion that this is a demon haunting, and not a ghost, solely based on how long the events have been going on – which at that point was like three weeks – I guess the idea of a mere human ghost wasn’t threatening enough. She also concludes that someone in her family has made a deal with these dark forces for the first-born son – okay… based on what again? In truth the young actress had to deliver most of the exposition and really gave a standout performance.
3. In another fishing-line gag, the daughter is left to baby-sit, and is tricked by the ghost demon into going outside – then the ghost slams the door behind her so the ghost can let the baby run around the house and open the basement door! Then the time speeds up so three our four hours go by… We have a 6 month old and I can tell you that if my wife were locked out of the house with the baby in there we’d be buying a new window! Maybe she thought she’d get in trouble I guess… gee, that 24 hour alarm thingy woulda been helpful there.
4. The German Sheppard sleeps in the baby’s room all the time – huh? Ohhhhh so they can get lots of shots of the dog staring at walls and growling and shit – I get it now.
5. Speaking of the dog, when it’s finally attacked by the ghost or demon or whatever (off camera of course) the family freaks out! (all on camera of course – these people literally wake up and turn the camera on). The dad and daughter bundle up the dog and jump in the car at 1:30 in the morning, presumably to find a vet – why? So mom can be attacked by the demon. Then 15 minutes later when the mom (now presumably possessed) goes apeshit crazy, steals the baby and attacks the camera – we jump cut to the father putting the mom in bed and pulling up the covers. I guess she doesn’t need a doctor. Hey I got an idea! Let’s call the Mexican housekeeper we just fired for being too superstitious to do an exorcism or something…
There were a couple legitimate scares, and some decent performances especially by the younger members of the cast
Ultimately the crowd seemed to be jolted and girls clutched their dates and screamed – so dudes bring a chick you wanna get closer with… but by the end, when the movie suddenly just stopped, there were a few “booos” and more than one “what the hell?” mixed with smatterings of unenthusiastic applause. I assume there’s an extra scare after the credits end but we didn’t wait – along with the rest of the audience who just filed out quickly and quietly.
Chris Bridges turned to me and said, “Well… it was worth the price of admission.”
Well said, sir.