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Sequel proves to be worth the wait

October 28, 2010

by Taylor Stephens

Though “Paranormal Activity 2” does not quite reach the same level of shock value or suspense building as the first film, it is almost a perfect sequel and respectfully builds on Oren Peli’s original, which should allocate applause to Paramount.

Even in a time when sequels and remakes run rampant in the Hollywood scene today, “Paranormal Activity 2” stands out in its ability to make the audience anticipate the scare.

I would recommend seeing the first “Paranormal Activity” before seeing its sequel because the second film actually takes place before and during the time frame of the first film.

In “Paranormal Activity,” Katie Featherston briefly alludes to her childhood and the sights of strange occurrences that happened when she shared a room with her sister as a young girl, but in the sequel, the audience follows the sister and her family with security cameras combined with the handy-cam view from the first film.

Enter the demon. The sister starts seeing and hearing things similar to events that happened in the first film, but the budget was almost $3 million more than the first one. So, the scenes were more intricate and better designed.

The scare tactics escalate when the daughter in the house tries to communicate with the demon. From cabinets flying open to lights sporadically turning off, the demon gets more vicious as the plot thickens.

This film may feature a new house and family but it showcases the same issues Katie encountered in the first movie. However, this sequel is a fantastic follow up to the original, and it improves upon it by adding depth to the story.

The first movie creates a sort of Pavlovian effect on the viewer, where during the second film, the audience finds themselves anticipating the scary parts when the ominous clock at the bottom right of the screen increases in speed and when the screen fades to black and opens with the nighttime, clearly indicating something bad is about to happen.

However, if you were a member of the audience in the first film who could stomach the loud noises and scary shadows and think the next installment will be a breeze for your stone will, be warned. The second movie far exceeds the first as far as scare tactics are concerned.

Whereas the deafening noise before a scary part in the first film were indicators of when the audiences should prepare for the intense scenes, the second film’s fright fests were more sporadic and less able to be anticipated. The audience also did not have to worry about attacks in the daytime against the family, but the demon is far less forgiving in the second installment.

The one thing the producers of this film did exponentially better than the first is to know who and in what to exploit for scare tactics; in this instance, a dog and a baby.

When most of the movie focuses on the anguish of the baby in the house, and the rest of the time is spent focusing on the frightened dog, the audience sympathizes with the characters, feels more protective of the family and is especially upset if anything happens to either the dog or the baby.

Fans of the first movie will find a niche in the second, but as a personal preference, the first movie is still more thrilling and exciting as far as haunted house movies go.

Verdict: four of five stars.

E-mail comments to tds026@latech.edu. 

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