It's pretty bad when you're home alone, watching a scary movie, and you have to turn it off because you're too spooked to go on. I was only 20 minutes in watching Paranormal Activity 2, but couldn't continue because I had memories from the last one. When I saw the original at a midnight showing, I loved watching it with the crowd. However, when I returned home and it was time to go to sleep, I swear I saw things moving in the dark. This only supported my paranoia of my grandmother's spirit haunting my house (the house was originally hers and I currently reside in it). But to counteract this, movies can have great power over me. For instance, after I first watched The Exorcist, I truly believed my bed was shaking. I know it was all in my head, but ghosts and demonic possessions get to me.
So as I continued watching Paranormal the next morning, I wasn't nearly as terrified and had no problem finishing. Paranormal Activity 2 takes place before and after the original. In the previous, a woman named Katie becomes possessed by a demon, kills her husband, and her whereabouts are unknown. In the second installment, we meet Katie's sister and her family:
- Kristi - Katie's sister who recently had a baby
- Daniel - Kristi's husband
- Ali - Daniel's daughter from a previous marriage
- Hunter - The newborn son
- Abby - A German Shepard watchdog
From a technical perspective, this film has two repetitive factors that get you scared while watching. The first being the consistent sequence of security camera footage. Beginning with a shot of the front door, it is always followed by the backyard pool, and then the inner rooms of the house. As you start to scrutinize the screen at the front door, you always anticipate something to pop out and scare you. But it is not until the camera switches deeper inside the house, where suspense only builds and strange events happen. The second factor is created through sound. Whenever the demon makes a presence, although it cannot be seen, a very subtle sound is heard, similar to the A/C turning on or the ambiance of an airplane cabin. I'm fairly certain the characters in the house can't hear this noise, but when the audience does, you know something bad is going to happen.
The other thing this franchise does really well is get you involved with the characters on a personal level. For example, with Ali, we know she is punk-rock girl since she has posters of The Misfits and The Ramones on her bedroom wall. But as we also discover her awesome personality and curiosity, we get frightened when she encounters the terrifying happenings. The movie does not have to put a lot of scare shots since we get scared when they do since we become deeply invested with the characters.
Overall this movie is a lot of fun and ends with a potential for another sequel. However, it may suffer from subsequent viewings because we know what is going to happen. But from a male perspective, this is at least re-watchable because of some decent cleavage:
So on Death List Five, Paranormal Activity 2 ranks #3.