Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY part 2!........meh?

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY part 2 is more of the same but less impressive.  Its a bigger movie with a bigger house, a bigger cast and more cameras.  Unfortunately PA2 isn't better or as good as the original.  There are some tense moments particularly at the end and there are a couple of genuine jump scares but the "this is really happening" feel is gone.  Worst of all its a prequel.  Mostly.

Most of the events of PA2 takes place a couple of months before PA1.  A mother brings home their new born son, Hunter from the hospital.  The mother (I don't remember her name) is the sister to the girl (Katie aka BOOBS) from PA1.  There is the connection.  That is also my biggest gripe.  PA2 feels the need to have a back story to PA1 which makes the  whole movie feel like just a movie and not real life.  There are a couple of scenes where the sisters talk (or try not to talk) about their past dealing with possible seances.  These scenes feel like actors acting and not real people.  Its not bad acting but it feels unrealistic.  In fact the mother's step daughter does her own research and thinks that maybe their grandmother made some pact with a demon which may be the cause of all this mayhem.  This time the demon is after Hunter.  Its a little too Hollywood plot to swallow for the real world.  The original had two actors we had never seen before.  This gave the film a sense of realism.  The actors felt like real people that we can relate to and care about. They didn't look like they were acting at all.  PA2 suddenly becomes sort of a generic made for t.v. movie that rips off PA1 but doesn't understand what made the first one so great.  I think I even recognize the dad from an old sci-fi channel t.v. show.  Again making the actors seem like actors and not real people with a real paranormal problem.

I don't like the fact that this isn't a stand alone story with another family having paranormal problems.  Its too familiar with familiar faces and familiar events.  Foot steps, opening and closing doors, banging sounds have all been done before just to keep PA2 in step with the first one.  The footsteps gag isn't as impressive here as it is in the first one.  There really is only maybe a couple of genuinely scary moments you won't see in part 1.  CABINETS!  Other than that you have seen it before.  The mother gets dragged not once but twice in the same scene because its a sequel you gotta do things twice as much, I guess. 

In PARANORMAL ACTIVITY part 1 they find a picture in the attic of Katie when she was young.  This is particularly scary because Katie says they lost all the photos of her in a house fire along time ago.  The photo is even scorched on the edges.  This means the demon has been following her for a long time.  It has always been with her and now it wants her.  It actually rescued a photo of her from the fire!  PA2 ruins all of this with the same photo being found in an old photo album and the dad lights it on fire in some ritual (why would you film that) to transfer the demon out of the mother and into Katie.  Suddenly the demon no longer has a relationship with Katie and is merely doing whatever it is doing for a rituals sake.

A simple home becoming a terrifying place to live is performed perfectly in PA1.  There is a steady build up of small scares turning into complete terror with a grand in your face finale.  It was scary as hell.  Looking down a dark hallway never seemed so unnerving.  PA2 tries to do the same with all the security cameras but doesn't truly succeed.  We see more but most of the time nothing happens at all.  The movie is a little boring.  I found myself not interested in what was going on.  There also should have been more emphasis on the basement being scary like the attic in part 1.  The ending isn't scary and repeats the ending of the first one but with more.  Its too theatrical and leaves nothing to the imagination. You even see an on screen kill (actually two) which should have been done off screen to make it more scary than what it is.

Its funny.  Here I am complaining about PA2 and yet the first thing I did when I got home was turn on all the lights.  I am writing this review with the lights on and weary of the strange banging sounds that are coming from the kitchen right next to me. I can't say the movie isn't scary or didn't have an affect on me because it did.  The problem is that its not as good as the first one or Blair Witch.  I love these kinds of caught on video, p.o.v. style horror films.  They truly are the scariest kind because you see (usually) only what the victims see.  I just don't think we need sequels or prequels to stretch out a simple story.  There are a couple of scenes in the trailer that aren't in the movie also.  The baby is never taken out and left on the road and possessed Katie never appears in a doorway and just stands there.  I hate it when trailers lie.  If PA3 is made I hope it has nothing to do with the first two.  Now if you will excuse me I need to go to my parents house and sleep in their bed so the ghosts don't get me.


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