Paranormal Activity 2 Trumps Prequel

Amanda McManus

Baby Hunter, a main target of the paranormal demon, is shown in the basement after the camera is dropped while the father fights to protect him.

More often than not, movie sequels fail to exceed, or even meet, the standards of their audience. After experiencing the successful phenomenon, “Paranormal Activity,” in theaters, one may have walked away thinking, “That’s going to be heard to beat,” especially with how much hype surrounded the movie before it was even released. But its safe to say the sequel to this profitable film, “Paranormal Activity 2,” turned out as good as the first, perhaps even better.

The story begins with a newborn baby brought into the picture named Hunter, 60 days before the death of Micah Sloat, the boyfriend of Katie who was the original victim of this paranormal demon in the first movie. Early on, it is discovered that the mother of Hunter is born. For example, its appears the whole house has been robbed and ransacked, but the only thing missing is Kristi’s necklace given to her by her sister Katie. This influences the family of four (not including their Hispanic nanny) to set up cameras within the house, which accordingly, begins the “paranormal activity” in the night. As they say in the movie, “the more attention you give it, the worse it gets.” And so they learned, this demon loved the attention.

The movie knows exactly how to mess with your mind and slowly builds more and more tension throughout the film. Frequently, a long, seemingly endless and uncomfortable pause of silence and anticipation would be followed by an abrupt, startling boom caused from this curious demon invading the home of the family, a tactic often used by the first movie. One of the strongest aspects of the two films is the home-movie feel of it all. The informal filming gives a sense that it is all reality. Also, its hard to predict when and what will startle you each scene due to the lack of a musical soundtrack that most thriller movies include. If this wasn’t enough to keep a hold on your attention during the film, then the expanded plot from the first movie certainly would.

Though the movie remained steady in keeping the audience entertained, some ideas used in the second film were perhaps a little trite. For instance, the scene involving the Ouija board in the first film, was used in a slightly different sense again in Paranormal Activity 2. The same foes for instance where the demon apparition drags Kristi down the stair case by her feet. The first movie included a scene exactly like this, only instead of Kristi it was her sister Katie being dragged. The movie included various new elements and surprises, but some ideas should not have been blatantly repeated.

Above all, the most important thing for the “Paranormal Activity” franchise to succeed was to stay true to its unique semblance with low-budget cameras and a realistic feel in the sequel. A slight repitition of ideas can be overlooked, for it took an appropriate direction, being as startling as the first film and as always unpredictable in what would transpire next. A highly exhilarating film, “Paranormal Activity 2” is a notch above its prequel.