Paranormal Activity 2 (Post Mortem)

26 Oct

This weekend Paranormal Activity 2 opened up to BIG numbers to no one’s surprise, but did the sequel to last year’s frightening breakout hit meet both box office and critical success? We had a feeling it was going to fall short. Here’s what we said back in July when the first trailer came out…

Will It Suck? – Yes. Making a good sequel is hard enough as it is, but when you take something that had low budget charm and genuine thrills, going back to the well is almost impossible. These breakout indies are popular because they are original and creative with their limited resources. Plus, with so little at stake, the studio execs normally stay out of it. Pumping a bunch of money into a horror sequel that did so well the first time around on a shoestring budget is bound to fail – just look at Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.

Were we right? Eh, yes and no. Without giving away any spoilers, we’ll say that yes, the scares were back this time, and it didn’t disappoint in that department. The use of having security cameras capture all the creepy action gave an added sense of reality, and despite our initial fears of Hollywood intervention, the finished product retained the same homemade charm as the original. I will say the second film does tie in to the first, and pulled off a believable backstory that had to be invented once the studio greenlit a sequel. However, with the addition of a full-fledged family in this one – two parents, a baby, a teenager and a dog – there were times when the movie felt the “been-there-done-that” familiarity of Poltergeist, with a couple of nods involving a TV (duh) and an automated pool cleaner. All in all, though, the film gave us the chills and proved to stave off the sequel slump, at least for now. With such a great potential profit margin and a relatively easy shooting schedule, though, what we’re really afraid of is a yearly sequel rollout, which despite having struck gold twice, can only lead to strip mining the franchise.

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