October 22nd, 2010
05:39 PM ET
Halloween is just over a week away, and hopefully the thrills and chills will start early with the arrival of "Paranormal Activity 2," the follow-up to last year’s word-of-mouth smash, "Paranormal Activity."
While last year’s film took us into the creepy house of suburban couple Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat, this year we segue into the, er, spirited home of Katie’s sister, her husband, and their two children, a teenage daughter and a newborn son.
Although the cast of characters has changed a bit, the central idea behind it is still the same, and many critics deem it frightening enough to still make you want to sleep with at least one light on.
“’Paranormal Activity’, and now its sequel, 'Paranormal Activity 2'…turn everyday banality into the monster—these movies make an empty suburban room as scary as any torture-porn abattoir,” writes Slate's film critic in a review. Thus “Paranormal Activity 2” is “similar to its predecessor in pacing and tone—if anything, a little too similar, with events ramping up at a gradual but merciless rate that anyone who's seen the original will recognize. Still, even knowing what's likely to come — the doors opening on their own, the skeptical characters scoffing at metaphysical explanations, the unheeded warnings from paranormally gifted guests — doesn't make it any less nailbiting to watch.”
The problem of déjà vu occurred to the critic for the New York Daily News as well, who pointed out that while the film replicates the same effect of “Paranormal Activity,” that’s not entirely a good thing.
“Director Tod Williams, taking over for original [‘Paranormal Activity’] filmmaker Oren Peli, never really zooms in on anything,” the Daily News review says. “Without giving anything away, much of the excruciatingly teased-out tension here echoes the first movie without upping the ante. There's the unseen demon, mysterious flying dishes and a puckish exploitation of our fear of what goes on while we sleep. But while doors do slam and you'll jump in your seat, the payoff is less satisfying.”
A Chicago Tribune review has a slightly different complaint, noting that one of the ways in which “Paranormal Activity 2” does differ from its predecessor is that it doesn’t get the same solid ending. Yet, in the end, the critic still finds the movie as a whole to be fairly frightening.
In “Paranormal 2,” “the banter's looser, more relaxed,” explains the review in the Tribune. “But the pacing remains methodical, so that when the kitchen cupboards and drawers suddenly fly open in union (a "Close Encounters" moment for sure) it's pretty arresting.”
Did you think the same, or do you wish they would've stopped with the first film? And be honest - who left the lights on when they came home from the theater? You can let us know your thoughts with a single photo, or - for those perhaps inspired by the film - you can upload an iReport movie review. We'll round up your reviews, the good and the bad, next week.
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