The most financially successful film of all-time when you compare budget to total box office receipts, at first Paramount didn’t even plan to release Paranormal Activity, instead remake it and take writer/director Oren Peli under their wing for future projects. Good job they did; Paranormal Activity made almost $200m off a $15,000 production, and the remake plans soon turned into a sequel.
Now acting as a producer, Peli’s handy-cam footage style is recreated in Paranormal Activity 2, this time from security cameras positioned around the spooked house after a break in. Promised that lead characters Katie and Micah would return, this sequel ties in with the timeline of the original and navigates the run up to the mysterious events of Peli’s feature, with Katie’s sister Kristi and family as the focal characters.
The rest is more or less the same again, only a baby and dog are involved this time too. Kristi, husband Dan, step-daughter Ali and new born Hunter, strange happenings start to affect the house, soon ramping up from moving doors, to birds flying into windows and cupboard doors busting open. Soon enough the event become too bizarre and frightening to ignore, but even with the help of their superstitious housekeeper, struggle to overcome the demons seemingly tormenting their life in the house.
Though it feels you spent more time watching nothing at all happen while switching between security cameras of each room, there isn’t quite as much tension as Peli so effectively conjured up in the original Paranormal Activity but this prequel is still thoroughly creepy and will have you on the edge your seat throughout. The film will make you fly out of your seat on several occasions without always requiring the classic, and overused, jump-scare, will in between you’ll certainly be tempted to watch through squinted eyes or clasped fingers
You don’t need knowledge of the first film to enjoy or be sucked into the second, but to discover how they link in as the film plays out will certainly give fans of the original a kick.
First time actors Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat did a wonderful job in Paranormal Activity and their rawness more than added to the film, but the more experienced cast in the follow-up do an equally great job.
Though Paranormal Activity 2 doesn’t quite have the shock value or surprise nature of the first film, it’s a fitting sequel and close and respectfully builds on Peli’s original, for which kudos should certainly be paid to studio Paramount.
The franchise could roll on from here for an untold number of sequels, which given this first repeat effort, won’t be a bad move for a couple more films at least.