Rated R for some language and brief violent material, 91 minutes
"Paranormal Activity 2" - been there, done that
The low-budget horror-thriller "Paranormal Activity" became a phenomenon in 2009 after an internet campaign helped propel it to wide theatrical release and huge box-office returns. A few good scares and an original premise made the first one a huge hit, and unsurprisingly, it's inspired a uninspired sequel. There are a handful of decent jumps in the unsurprising, predictable "PA2," which is all it really has going for it, since the novelty and the chilling plot are well-known by now.
The film starts 3 months before the hauntings of Micah (Micah Sloat) and Katie (Katie Featherston). Katie's sister Kristi and her husband Daniel Rey move into a new home near Micah and Katie, and during this time Kristi's family begins to have suspicious feelings they are not alone in this house. Over time, creepier things begin happening over following nights. Strange things happen to their one-year old son Hunter along with their dog. The family realizes this isn't just a haunted house, but something far more sinister.
The demon thriller "Paranormal Activity 2" is an above-average, modestly chilling but unoriginal horror film that channels the first film, not to mention ripping off many, many other horror films, including "The Exorcist," "Rosemary's Baby" and even "The Amityville Horror." Sort of a prequel with events that happen concurrently with the first, there's not much to go on except the few scares it provides and the faux-documentary jumpy camera feel that grows tiresome after awhile.
There are absolutely no surprises with "PA2," and the supposedly shocking ending isn't that big of a shock. No spoilers here, but if you saw the first one, this one ends the same exact way and leaves it open, for yes, even more sequels. It does give a minimal amount of backstory to Katie and Kristi's upbringing, but it's all still a little fuzzy as to why all this is happening. Native North Texan actress Featherson's role is considerably smaller here, but she does play a pivotal role in the climax.
I enjoyed the first "Paranormal Activity" and while this one really isn't terrible, the formula is all the same, and a bigger budget ($3 million versus $15,000) gives the film a less personal, less tighter feel than the first one, which was directed by Oren Peli (who produces here to let Tod Williams direct). Horror-film enthusiasts should turn out the first weekend to make it a decent hit, but it's not as good as the first one.