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We re-watched Paranormal Activity 2, and it still holds up. It takes everything that works from the first film and ever so slightly expands on it. It’s not perfect, but it is highly effective. It also happens to be one of the most profitable horror movies of all time. Listen to our review in this episode of Horror Movie Talk.
Paranormal Activity 2 is directed by Tod Williams and can be found can be wherever you rent or buy your movies.
Synopsis for Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity 2 takes place before and briefly after the occurrences of Paranormal Activity. However, this time, the movie focuses on Kristy Rey’s (Sprague Grayden) family of 4. Kristy is the sister of Katie from the first film. A year after Kristy gives birth to their son Hunter, strange occurrences, Activities even, start happening, and the Rey family eventually figures out that they are being tormented by a demon. Paranormal Activity 2 uses the same found footage techniques found in the first film, but expands the scope of the story beyond the recent hauntings and delves a little more into Kristy and Katies past.
Review of Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity 2 expands the scope of the original film and uses aome very effective devices that take full advantage of the found footage genre. Whenever your marketing focuses almost exclusively on genuine audience reactions, you know you’re doing something right.The movie expands the “lore” of the Rey sisters in this movie, but never over extends like in the later films. The mystery, dread, and dramatic irony are all there in the movie, and it somehow is just as memorable as the first. You’ll walk away wondering how the filmmakers created more tension with a static shot of a pool vacuum than most of the tension contained in most horror movies. The subtle audio and visual cues are enough to carry you through to the end when they go full jumpscare and finally have some payoff.
Score for Paranormal Activity
Spoilers for Paranormal Activity 2
Click to Expand for Spoilers
Chronology of Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2
If you’ve seen Paranormal Activity, you should know what to expect from the sequel. There aren’t many surprises in the overarching plot. The family sets up a bunch of cameras and they are increasingly haunted by a demon presence.
The differences are small between the two films, but this film does introduce some great gimmicks.
To start out, we should establish the timeline of the two films. The events of the film start out a year before the events in Paranormal Activity 1. The opening sequence is a series of family videos right before and after their son Hunter is born.
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The film then jumps forward to two months before PA1, and it shows a video of them documenting damage to their house for an insurance claim. This gives them a great excuse to set up security cameras around the house.
The security cameras document the family tormented by a demon for several days and in the end, Kristi through a ritual, transfers the demon over to her sister Katie (from the first film.
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The events of the first movie happen off screen and then Paranormal Activity 2 ends with Katie appearing in Kristi’s house, now possessed by the demon, and kills everyone except Hunter.
Elements that work in Paranormal Activity 2
“The sound” is one of the best things about the Paranormal Activity franchise. The low rumble that communicates the presence of a demon makes even plain shots of an empty room dreadful.
They up the stakes in this film in a couple of ways. They include:
- Abbie the dog
- A weirdly compelling pool
- More cameras
- More skepticism
- More background story
- More people
Should you watch Paranormal Activity 2?
Check Out Our Episode on the Worst Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension
Thanks to The Benevolent Badger for the new theme song to Kill Count
Thanks to our friends at Scariest Things Podcast for the mention.
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The sequel goes for the same slow burn and build up. There are plenty of times where there is very little activity, paranormal or otherwise, but these are there to lull you into a routine, to get the viewer used to the quiet, to scanning the slightly more elaborate framings, to lean into the movie. It all pays off when things start going bump in the night (very loudly. Like the first one this has a great soundscape, up there with Robert Wise’s The Haunting).