Monday, 8 November 2010

Paranormal Activity 2

Sometimes, shit happens, somebody's gotta deal with it, and who're you gonna call?!”
- Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters 2)

(I cant promise that that will be the only Ghostbusters reference in this review but I will try my best)
I can’t help but find something slightly off-putting about handheld movies; I mean I enjoyed “Cloverfield” and “Quarantine” but I find handheld movies to be far more taxing to watch, this may due to the way in which handheld films require a greater level of realism than other shooting types. 
But since Paranormal Activity is considered as one of the scariest films of last year and all in all a pretty good movie I figured I would check out the sequel when it was released and considering how Paranormal Activity had such huge success that it caused the "Saw” franchise to throw its toys out of its pram and have “Saw 3D” released this year as the final installment a sequel to Paranormal Activity was pretty much inevitable, but it is hard to fully class this film as a sequel due to it being set before, during and after the original.

Directed by Tod Williams the film see's Kristi Rey (Sprague Grayden -Sister to Katie from the original movie) and her husband Daniel (Brian Boland) returning home after the birth of their son Hunter and after an appeared break-in they set up cameras throughout the house but soon the cameras start capturing footage of strange occurrences.

It must be said that the concept of centering the story around the original film helping and allowing the audience to gain a greater insight into the tale from the original was a brilliant idea, helping to develop the characters due to the gentle input of the characters from the previous installment through the use of already constructed relationships between the characters.

Instead of the use of a single camera there are several home security camera set up throughout the house allowing multiple perspectives of the strange occurrences all over the house, this adds a greater outlook on whats going on throughout the house but also detracts from the great atmosphere and tension that was present in the first installment do to the loss of the confined nature that is gained from the outlook being limited to a sole camera.
Unfortunately this film fully explains just why the family is being haunted and it is possibly the weakest explanation I could possibly imagine, its a shame that the film attempts to explain the cause of the hunting's at all since a common staple of horror stories is the less that is explained the more the audiences imagination can run wild but the explanation given to what is causing the family to be haunted is laughable.

The characters are as well developed as possible in a handheld film seeming like real people rather than fictional characters with the sole exception being the Martina the spiritual house keeper and nanny who screams so many cliches it's ridiculous, but there is one point in the movie in which the character commit an act that causes them to become completely unsympathetic and unlikable for the rest of the movie burning any connection that the audiences felt towards them.

The film focuses on building up tension slowly giving the audience plenty of time to scan the rooms for any sign of approaching danger before it suddenly springs up from no where, this is especially effective in one scene in particular where the scare seemingly sneaks up on you. But besides this one scene the rest of the jumps are largely limited to sudden loud noises and many of the moments that the creates hope to show as being scary come off as being cartoonish and unbelievable further damaging the sense of realism that makes the original so great.

The films ending comes abruptly and the plot seems to disappear mid-way through the movie, but this film does has a gift for creating a great atmosphere even if the jumps are less than you would image them to be.
So is this film worth seeing sure, but I advise to watch it at home when it comes out on DVD instead of at the cinema due to the way in which the home environment will play on your mental state but this film is far less scary than people claim it to be and despite several jump moments this film is nothing compared to the original.

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