Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity (2007) was one of the most financially profitable films of all time, costing only $15,000, yet taking in over $190 million worldwide. Its runaway success conjured up memories of The Blair Witch Project, which was somewhat similar in subject matter, style, and return-on-investment. Thus, when the inevitable sequel was announced, I wondered whether we’d be getting another Blair Watch 2, a disaster of a film that entirely missed what made the original work.
This weekend, Paranormal Activity 2 finally hits theaters, with Tod Williams directing and Peli taking on a producer role. What did you guys think of it? Was it as scary as the first? Or was it a dull bore? Also, what was your moviegoing experience like? Hit the jump for some of my thoughts, and leave your own in the comments section. As usual, spoilers lie after the jump and in the comments.
The more I think about it, the more I appreciate Peli’s original film. With scarce resources, Peli was able to take everyday household objects and sounds and turn them into weapons of terror. The original Paranormal also had some chilling use of time-lapse photography, which I found particularly effective. But perhaps most importantly, there was a great sense of momentum in Paranormal Activity. The madness ramped up as the film progressed, and after a slow first 15 minutes, I never felt bored.
Virtually none of these can be said about the second film. While the original was expertly paced, Paranormal Activity 2 features endless scenes of security footage showing absolutely nothing happening. The original’s pervasive sense of foreboding is replaced with a few cheap jump scares, which feel so unearned that they actually made me angry. Interestingly, the film’s story and script are fairly inventive, filling in a lot of the backstory to the first film and making it richer as a result. But when the story is the only thing you can recommend about a horror film such as this, you know something’s gone a bit awry.
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