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Paranormal Activity 2

Paranormal Activity 2

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

GIVEN the success of Oren Peli’s original Paranormal Activity last year it was kind of inevitable that a sequel would follow. Given the speed with which it has arrived, however, the biggest fear factor now lies in seeing just how bad – and how much of a cash in – it would be.

In truth, it’s not terrible, serving as a prequel to the events in the first film that still ticks all the right boxes in giving audiences a tense, jumpy night at the flicks.

But it also struggles to escape the notion that it’s still cashing in on the success of the original and that the freshness factor has gone. The fact that it chooses to focus on the sister of one of the original victims also gives it less of a random factor, making this more of the same story, only amplified with a bigger family as per the rules of the sequel.

Hence, proceedings this time take place in the new home of Katie’s sister, her husband, their teenage daughter, toddler son, family Alsatian and superstitious maid.

The format is the same; things go bump in the night, which get progressively worse and which are eventually traced back to the work of a demon. Only this time, the ‘what the f**k?’ aspect is replaced by more of a ‘how and why are they possibly connected?’

To be fair, new director Tod Williams does a decent job of mixing humour with chills and builds the tension nicely, borrowing and sometimes deliberately nodding to the same techniques as Peli.

But while the original was lean, mean and unforgettable (especially at night), the sequel is bloated and indulgent.

That said, Paranormal Activity 2 can still be enjoyed as part of a crowd experience, where the audience response is fun to be a part of.

But what once was genuinely intense and original now carries the whiff of a slickly manufactured franchise baiter that, if anything, threatens to lessen the impact of its predecessor by virtue of its direct link.

The overall result, while still effective, struggles to be as impressive. But it’s still a follow up in the Jaws 2 mould rather than the Blair Witch 2, for which we can at least be grateful.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 91mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release Date: February 28, 2011