By Jack Rico
Paranormal Activity 2, the sequel to the already labeled cult classic original of the same name, offers more scares than the original, yet, it lost some of the genuine feeling of originality and authenticity that the first so frightfully showcased. It did add a Latino element… more on that later.
The plot line, which was so carefully concealed from the perusing press, is a prequel that leads into the sequel, and eventually is left open for a second sequel, meaning part three. In order to understand this movie, you must have seen the first one in order to appreciate the dialogue, specific occurrences and the appearance of a couple of characters.
From the opening frame, we witness a home video of a suburban family moving into a new household with their new born baby, Hunter, three weeks before the grim events of the first film. Rather quickly, we are informed that the mother and wife just so happens to be the sister of the vanished and possessed female victim (Katie Featherston) who was the lead actress from the original movie. Many allusions are then referenced to the previous film more than once throughout movie, even until the very end. The family, unfortunately, begins experiencing what they think are a series of ‘break-ins,’ but even their security cameras around their home only serve to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
Before I continue, it must be said how much the original weighed over this sequel. The first one was as good as they come. It felt real, much like The Blair Witch Project did. The supernatural incidents were filled with the simplicity and freakish genuineness that one can believe as true. Even the cast was perfect. Ms. Katie Featherston, large chest and all, had the characteristics that typifies the genre. This sequel didn’t necessarily sell the physical attributes of its female cast.
Speaking of females, one actress that really stood out to me, not necessarily because of her acting, but because of the her heritage, was the Latina nanny (note: Paramount has not given press any production notes on the film so many of the actors are uncredited). She speaks only in Spanish, no subtitles, and she mostly talked about how she kept on feeling an uncomfortable, malign presence in the house. It’s funny, Latino actors, for better or worse, are now becoming Hollywood’s go-to authorities on everything paranormal. If you remember Drag Me To Hell, Adriana Barraza played the exorcist and most recently, Jacob Vargas in ‘Devil’, was the first to detect the devil’s presence in the film. I guess it’s a jump up from gangsters and thieves. It makes sense though, Latinos do come from a long line of spiritual traditions that make them more knowledgeable about the ethereal world.
The film is a mockumentary directed by Tod Williams, and written by the original scribe, Orin Peli and newby Michael Perry. The production budget soared close to 3 million dollars for this one but you can barely tell where it went compared to the $11,000 version of the original.
Overall, Paranormal Activity 2 delivers the thrills and chills one looks for in horror films. The IMAX version also is a welcoming option if you can afford it. Go see it, you won’t be disappointed.
Rated: R for some language and brief violent material.
Release Date: 2010-10-22
Screenplay: Oren Peli, Michael R. Perry
Official Website: http://www.paranormalmovie.com/