Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Paranormal” sequel starts at the beginning

By Tyler Manoukian

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It started with the automatic pool cleaner finding its way out of the pool every night, but “Paranormal Activity 2,” the recently-released sequel to the most profitable film of all time, given its low production costs, horrified audiences with its bone-chilling shots and supernatural occurrences.

“Paranormal Activity 2” tells the other half of the ‘true story’ of Micah Sloat’s death, serving as a prequel to the first movie. The movie occurs 60 days before Micah’s death and focuses on his girlfriend Katie’s sister, Kristi, and her family.

After experiencing what the family believes to be a series of break-ins, they set up a complex security system of hi-tech cameras. Through these cameras, the family is shocked to see what is truly transpiring at night when they are sound asleep. The film gives viewers the other side of Katie’s mysterious life by focusing in on her sister, Kristi and her new family.

“Paranormal Activity 2” is a housebound creeper story that takes place entirely in one location, similar to other films of its kind, like  “Phone Booth.” The film cleverly ties into the first movie while producing some original footage. Instead of reproducing the “Blair Witch” style camera angles like last year’s mega-hit, director Tod Williams, writer Michael R. Perry and producer Oren Peli, who wrote the first film, went with a more complex style of cinematography.

With the adaptation of multiple cameras placed throughout the family home, viewers are always attentive and able to see each scene from multiple angles. The family room could be seen from two different perspectives, the front door was shown, the pool – virtually every room in the house. Williams and Peli really got creative with their ideas in this prequel.

The movie will surprise you with its scare tactics, as one of this year’s most anticipated horror hits. Released one week before “Saw 3D,” the movie grossed nearly $100 million its first weekend due to some excellent build up and killer scares. One particular scene in the kitchen, when Kristi is boiling tea, shows the cabinets start to shake and burst open – that alone will have you jumping out of your seat. The best part is that the scares take place during the day, rather than primarily at night. This way, the audience won’t be thinking, “Well, why don’t they just check it out during the day?” It adds a new element to the film when even the daytime is no longer safe.

Every time the screen shots of the family’s pool in the backyard flashed on the screen, ‘paranormal activities’ really started. This scene was like a cue for the “what happens next?!” moment we all experience. This time, however, the unnatural invades the walls of an innocent family with more frequency and more intensity.

The surprising tie-in to the plot of the first movie was something to enjoy. You may not think that the movies are connected at first, but avid “Paranormal” followers will quickly recognize the recurring cast and intriguing interconnectedness.

Fans will remember Katie, played by Katie Featherston, as the innocent girl in the first film who is sucked into a whirlwind of the bizarre. Viewers can sympathize with her, leading us to desire her safety and praying she will make it out of this mess alive. In a surprising twist that will surely scare the pants off of the casual moviegoer, Katie takes the role of mysterious and weird. While not expected, Katie’s presence in the film is entirely necessary to put the film in perspective.

Her role is spectacularly performed. Fans will not expect the twists and turns she brings to the film. Katie’s character comes out of nowhere to amaze the audience.

Unexpected events will knock the audience out of their seats. Silence serves as a precursor to a soon-to-be major scare. Huge “Paranormal” fans will learn to desensitize themselves to these scenes, because they do become predictable. Nonetheless, they are still very shocking and scary.

Overall, the film was very good. Like all sequels, though this is technically a prequel, “Paranormal Activity 2” never does as well as the original. You can expect the same type of scares in this movie, but it gets repetitive and does not achieve the same mystique that the first movie had. Its purpose to please the crowd was overshadowed by the intent of the sequel to be a huge financial success, much like the original.

While it gets redundant, the film definitely impressed with its plot. This movie solidified the original story, putting all the pieces together. Like any horror film, a plot only adds to the suspense and makes for a better overall experience. “Paranormal Activity 2” did just that, making up for the usual lack of originality in a sequel.

If you are a huge fan of this series and are too scared for upcoming blockbusters such as “Saw 3D,” this is the perfect film for you. Casual movie watchers beware of breath-taking footage and a killer plot.

Tyler Manoukian can be reached at [email protected]


3 Responses to ““Paranormal” sequel starts at the beginning”

  1. Kim in PA on October 24th, 2010 11:33 pm

    I saw it today, and was scared out of my wits. I sort of expected it to be lame after PA1, but it followed up on the original story brilliantly, and had me peeking through my fingers in much the same way the first one did. I am awake and typing this right now because, once again, I am too jumpy to try to go to sleep. BTW- I am a forty year old mother of two, and no stranger to horror/sci-fi films. This might just be the scariest of the bunch. Fasten your seatbelts.

  2. jerry trimper on October 26th, 2010 12:28 pm

    This movie was the worse movie I ever saw worse then “The Box” – never thought I would see another movie till this crap.

  3. Brandi on October 26th, 2010 10:40 pm

    I thought this movie was pretty good. It made me jump and sent chills down my spine. I thought the first was boring. But this was had me guessing all the way to the end.

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