In an age where horror films are defined by teenagers whose I.Q. ranges between “Dumbass” and “Hopeless”, Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Activity” brought needed hope not only to exhausted horror movies, but also to the slashers that occupy them. Man. Freddy, Jason, and Myers must be tired from hacking college students all the time.
If you liked the original, chances are you’ll also like “Paranormal Activity 2”. They are similar in structure: the slow beginning, the creepy middle, and the chilling end. Both movies take place within a home, and both homes are inhabited by a demon.
This is scary.
A home is said to be a place of rest and refuge. Once you explore the possibility that an evil demon might be trying out all the furniture as it plots to murder your family, you’re in trouble. Anyone who doesn’t get scared by that situation is either really really brave or a Satanist.
The members of the Rey family aren’t Satanists and any form of bravery won’t drive that pesky demon away. It wants your baby. It’ll sneak. It’ll surprise. It’ll prevent your pool from getting cleaned or it’ll drag you halfway across your house if it needs to. And on top of that, it’s invisible. Again, this is scary. How can you fight something that you can’t see?
How can you escape from something that you can’t hide from?
The type of villain found here generates a number of possibilities for some great scares, and they are done effectively in both the original and this prequel/sequel. A big difference between the two “Paranormal” movies is their atmosphere. One would walk into this prequel/sequel with an expectation of what the method of horror would be like, and everybody knows that it’s always scarier the first time around; when you don’t know what the hell is going on.
(Spoilers) “Paranormal Activity 2” succeeds in inducing fear but fails in inserting logic. For instance, when the father was convinced that a demon was indeed amongst them, they call… their housekeeper. I guess the nearest exorcist was having a bad day. And when the demon attacked in “wife” form, why did the power go out? Does the demon have electrical skills? (End Spoilers)
These flaws can be forgiven, because “Paranormal Activity 2” did what it’s supposed to do. Its ending (and box office success) suggests that a second sequel might be made, but we’re gonna have to wait to find that out. In the meantime, college students are on vacation and are just waiting to be hacked.