Sunday, 24 October 2010

REVIEW: Paranormal Activity 2

I'm in shock that the director of Paranormal Activity 2 also directed The Door In The Floor. That shit's crazy.

It wouldn't be too far a stretch to say that Paranormal Activity was one of my favourite films of 2009. A perfectly oiled scare machine, cynical as fuck sure, but it delivered. Taking the new wave of found footage horror and relocating it to the home, where the superficial realism the gimmick allows for could almost be at its most invasive, and consequently terrifying. It's sequel (although its a prequel really) is basically the same movie, with its scares having the same punchlines and characters having basically the same trajectories. But it somehow felt diluted, like the second time you hear a cheap joke. It makes you laugh the first time, but hear it again and it just feels empty.

Which is weird, because if anything the family at the centre of this movie are much more likeable and fun to spend time with then Micah and Katie from the last one. And if anything its at its most approachable before it turns into a horror, with the family's video diaries that makes up the first twenty minutes probably the most enjoyable aspect of the thing. But the scares just felt painfully familiar, and without the nerve-shredding originality the first movie had just become kind of boring. Particularly nearer the beginning, where you wait five minutes for a door to move an inch. Or three minutes for a pan to fall on the floor. The same things that were somehow electrifying in the first one, fall entirely flat, perhaps because they are entirely the same things. Acting wise its all pretty solid, Brian Boland and Sprague Grayden making for likeable parents and Molly Ephraim is a surprisingly affable teenager, and one that I didn't want to see get brutally murdered, which is no small win for a horror.

But the most prevalent thought you'll have when you leave Paranormal Activity 2 is that it is fucking pointless, whether its shoehorns in a lame and frankly reductive exposition for the first movie or not. Its a freaking cash-in, designed to trick you into thinking that you can have that singular and awesome movie experience that was the first film all over again. But you can't. It worked precisely because you had never seen it before, and this, well, this just tells the same joke over. Except this time its not funny.

Rating: 5/10

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