We’ve seen it all before. Just last year, in fact, in the first Paranormal Activity. But, hey, people Trick or Treat every October, so why not see the same movie with slightly better production values? The first PA cost $15,000, real chump change. This one set Paramount back $3 million. Still cheap, but you see where I’m going. The first PA took us by surprise and became a huge hit. Naturally, it had to spawn a sequel. Gordon Gekko may reform in the Wall Street sequel, but Hollywood has never stopped believing, “Greed is good.” And PA 2 is good, at least in the sense of being serviceable for getting you squirming in your seat.
Again, the whole movie is basically watching security footage. The cameras are deemed necessary by the Rey family, who’ve just moved into a roomy, sunshiny SoCal house where ghosts and/or demons have been doing their dirty business. Dad Daniel (Brian Boland) stupidly thinks the damage is the work of thieves. LOL. Has he never seen a horror flick? Mom Kristi (Sprague Grayden) and her teen stepdaughter Ali (Molly Ephraim) know better. They worry big time about new baby Hunter, played by the twins William and Jackson Prietro, and so does Abby, the family German Shepherd.
I can’t say much more or these words will burst into flames. But you should know that PA 2, set in the summer of 2006, is more prequel than sequel. It’ll help if you jog your memory about the first movie. Hint: Kristi has a sister Katie (Katie Featherston) and she and her boyfriend Micah (Micah Sloat) show up to visit the Reys and relive some eerie family history. OK, that’s it. Congrats to director Tod Williams, taking over for Oren Peli, for building tension since not a damn thing happens for 45 minutes. Williams, whose 2004 The Door in the Floor with Jeff Bridges was criminally undervalued, is too good for this nonsense. But he keeps the thrills coming, building menace into baby toys and innocent-looking household objects. The ending? It sucks. But if you’re looking for wicked fun this Halloween, Paranormal Activity 2 is the best goosebump game in town.