Paranormal Activity 2

Posted by Greg Butler On October - 28 - 2010

Viral marketing to advertise film through Internet and prescreening has been for movie studios, a hit or miss boon, to heavily push their products into the mundane consciences of the buying public. For as many that were successful, The Paranormal Activity prescreening at New York’s Landmark theater in downtown Manhattan in 09, was an exercise in ineptness and miscommunication. In a screening theater limited to 200 seats at maximum, Paramount lacked the foresight to shut down the on-line RSVP. In a city of 8 million, one can empathize with the sea of confusion and outrage when the employee (rather belligerently) tells a mob that there were no more showings after hours of waiting. Still, it had zero effect in deterring the box-office success of the film.

Well, what a difference a year made.

The prescreening Of Paranormal Activity 2 was as much a sequel in experience, as the movie. The trepidation of a repeat performance was calmed when the studio made good on this little event for waiting patrons. Better theater accommodations, giveaways of iPods, X-Boxes, t-shirts and free snacks. The necessary overkill to restore the crowd’s goodwill in Paramount. Hence the gratuities was making sure such a disgrace didn’t have a follow up to that 4 hour travesty along Houston street.

Alright you guys, everything is forgiven.

Paramount heads back to the well again with this follow up to Paranormal Activity, with; you guessed it Paranormal Activity 2. This movie serves as a sort of prequel and a sequel, as this go around deals with the sister of Katie from the events of the first film. Never let it be said that demonology doesn’t run rampant in that family as things starts off with the same predicaments as before, doors slowly opening, elongated shadows appearing and so forth, but where there was one positioned camera, Activity 2 has four, giving it more mobility around the house and opportunities to amp up the tension. The father is a skeptic, the daughter intrigued, dog barking, mother in denial and the baby makes Google eyes at the screen, all seemingly like-able characters in the beginning.

Director Todd Williams takes the reigns and continues the reality driven look of the previous film, a renewed gimmick for horror started by infamous fare as Cannibal Holocaust, The last Broadcast, Blair Witch and just recently The last Exorcism. There’s a sense for the viewer of a “you are there experience”. The voyeurism of the video gives it a low rent Poltergeist realism (sans the FX) to it, which in some docu- style moments are quite effective.  The sneaky scares comes with obnoxiously long stretch of silence within the household and then a sudden loud Dolby stereo boom, caused by either a slamming door or a over hanging cookware. The constant use of this unfortunately becomes tedious; eventually losing their effect after Williams uses it for the umpteenth time. It stops being scary and becomes an advocate for earplugs.

Asides from that, Activity 2 almost succeeds in engaging you as the characters go about in dealing with the supernatural elements as it percolates on, but in it’s last half hour with the shrieking hysteric increased by volumes, the performances comes apart and shrill as if the actors knew they would never get another job after this.

With the open ending, literally answering the question of the previous film, maybe they might get it right with the third one that you know is coming.

In our three liquor rating of One Bourbon, one scotch and one beer,

The Paranormal Activity 2 rates a domestic beer with a chaser.

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