Paranormal Activity 2

By Emma Berkel

   The original Paranormal Activity rocked theaters as a low budget mockumentary that managed to hold audiences in a memorable suspense. Premiering at film festivals and being the first work of director Oren Peli, the film’s success was nothing short of unexpected, and perhaps just as unexpected, it spawned Paranormal Activity 2.

   A prequel to the first, Paranormal Activity 2 is told through the same “shaky camera” style, but the focus has shifted from the original’s Micah and Katie to Katie’s sister Kristi and her family. As with the first movie, a haunting has cursed an otherwise happy home. However, it’s a burglary that prompts the family to set up a number of security cameras from which the film takes the majority of its footage. In fact, it’s only after that burglary that objects begin to move on their own and strange sounds can be heard. Early on, it’s clear that the haunting is centered around the family’s newborn baby boy, Hunter, and after so much abuse, husband Dan and daughter Ali decide to take action.

   While the overall concept of a poltergeist is identical and the scares remain in the same vein as Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2 succeeds as a prequel. It offers a fuller picture regarding the events that surround the horror, and by way of implication even suggests grounds for a third movie, one that extends even further into the past as it seems the “paranormal activity” has been in the lives of Katie and Kristi well before the supposed events of 2006.

   The successful scare factor lies greatly with a fear of the unknown, and it’s for this reason that the movie’s clearly filmed conclusion is a jarring release of otherwise unbroken suspense. Yet a two minute sequence can hardly bring down the whole of an otherwise excellent example of the thriller genre. After all, so few movies can take something as simple as a closing door and use it to turn our blood cold.