Monday, 25 October 2010


This week we return to the world of cinema with Mr Jim Moon braving the terrors of the night and low res footage in order to bring you gentle listener this review of Paranormal Activity 2


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Lee Medcalf said...

I have to say I couldn't agree with you more.
The power and "freshness" of Paranormal Activity as a franchise is that its out to scare rather than revolt.

The power of both films for the majority of the time is fear of the unknown. The odd sounds on the stairs, the odd movement that doesn't ring true in our own world view and of course, the moments where the mundane becomes a threat.

I also agree that Micah in the first film was a colossal tool, no one goes through the shit he and Katie have and then thinks a Ouija board is a sensible move. And its that idiocy that kills some of the reality of the situation for me.

Were the roles reversed into reality I would have run screaming into another house and never returned the instant I saw a video of my wife staring at me for 12 hours.

As far as the second film is concerned, the matriarchal role is a lot more sensible, and some of his more irrational moments (firing the home help for example) is understandable given the fact it seems to be encouraging the hysteria.

My only real criticism of the sequel, and indeed the first film, is that it has no way of subtly ending. If you have built up dread over the course of two hours then the finale doesn't have to be a shock pay off. It could be subtle and disturbing rather than death and destruction all the way.

PA2 is more guilty of this than the first, but none the less both films suffer from the big bang finale, taking things that little bit too far with the hauntings taking on a far more physical appearance.

I liked the tie in to the first film but again it also felt a little trite... A case of suddenly feeling you rid yourself of a problem only to have it come back (and then some) that has been done over and over again in horror films.

So in the end while PA2 is not a bad film and in some ways superior to its progenitor, it still feels too much like a rehash. Plus, like the first, the found footage element feels somewhat forced, especially in comparison to something like [REC] which managed that side of the Cinema Verite style nicely.

All in all PA2 is a worthy and accomplished sequel but I hope it doesn't become a supernatural Saw franchise to be milked until its horns are bled out of its udders.

Jim Moon said...

You're bang on about the ending problem. Personally I thought the original ending of the first was far more effective than the one they made for the mainstream cinema release.

As the franchising, well I'll probably see the now inevitable third but they are pushing their luck and I do worry how long before they ditch the found footage routine in favour of flashy special effects and stylised gloss.

Though that said, a third chapter that wraps up the story, making it into a trilogy would be nice ...