PASS THE POPCORN: Just rent the original

by Staff

Carmen Splane, Contributor

There was extensive media hype, an innovative marketing plan and an homage to cinema verité. It was demanded across the country and it worked; it was almost too good. That was the first “Paranormal Activity.” The second one is a joke, and the joke is on the viewer and their wallet.

The sequel has all the makings of a successful follow-up, if a successful follow-up means a regurgitation of previous themes regardless if they fit or make sense. There is a haunted house (again), a man obsessed with filming absolutely everything (again) and a woman who has been haunted by a mysterious presence her entire life (again).

This time the man is Daniel (Brian Boland) and the woman is Kristi (Sprague Grayden), along with teenage daughter Ali (Molly Ephraim), newborn baby Hunter and a dog named Abby.  The film begins with baby Hunter’s arrival home from the hospital, where his first months pass documented by a digicam.

As one would imagine, it gets tiring filming a family’s day-to-day activities (and inactivity) so the writers decided to throw a burglary into the mix. However, nothing is really burgled, just vandalized. The house is turned upside down but the only thing taken is a necklace from the crazed, demon-possessed sister from the first film, Katie (Katie Featherston). After the burglary, they do what any normal, sane family would do. They hire people to come and install surveillance cameras throughout the house instead of calling the police.

The rest of the film goes like this: a ticker at the bottom of the screen signifying what day it is; repetitive shots of the pool, kitchen, living room, front door and nursery using surveillance cam footage (in that order); followed by a series of thuds, booms and slams. Oh, and an insomniac toddler who cries every single night and talks to himself.

The movie fails on every level and lacks what the first movie made infamous: real evil and the ability to cultivate suspense in its rawest form.

Movie: Paranormal Activity 2

Directed by: Tod Williams

Release Date: Oct. 22

Grade: F