Directed by Tod Williams [Other horror films: Cell (2016)]
It’s no surprise that I rather abhorred the first movie, and because of that, I didn’t really go into this one with a high expectation of enjoying it. And of course, it may come as little surprise that I didn’t care for this at all.
I did appreciate how it connected to the first movie somewhat unexpectedly. It didn’t really make the film any better, but perhaps it gained a little depth due to that addition. Still, the movie is pretty much the first movie only with a family as opposed to a couple, and that change didn’t really blow me away.
Once things really start happening (about an hour and 7 minutes in, mind), it doesn’t really matter, because I had stopped caring an hour before. The family all seem like decently nice (albeit rather privileged) people, the daughter (Molly Ephraim) being the most interesting and sympathetic, especially when she’s trying to convince her father (Brian Boland) of the supernatural goings-on in the house. As decent, though, as Ephraim was, it doesn’t really make the film any more engaging.
Without fail, I usually bring up the fact that I don’t dislike found footage movies automatically. There’s been plenty I’ve enjoyed, such as Hell House LLC and As Above, So Below. I also understand, at least partially, the appeal of these types of slow-burn films. It’s just that I don’t find them creepy or scary, just tediously boring and hard to get through.
Connecting to the first movie was, again, somewhat clever, and I appreciated that bit of back-story. It doesn’t necessarily shine a brighter light on the first film, but it was still nice. At the same time, the movie is still slow and tedious. I enjoyed it a smidge more than the first movie, if only because Molly Ephraim was a much better character than either Micah or Katie from the first film (both of whom, of course, pop up here).
I also wanted to mention the ending briefly. Much like it’s predecessor, it’s somewhat depressing and gloomy, but, at least to me, it lacked the emotional punch it was probably trying to attain. This is mainly due to the utterly idiotic and tried out “This is based off a true story, we promise, even though it’s obviously not true, we say it is to make the movie more believable and frightening” bullshit that I’m so sick of.
To my knowledge, there’s been absolutely zero evidence of supernatural or paranormal activity. This isn’t based off a true story, and movies that claim they are, when they’re obviously not, really piss me off. This is probably my biggest issue with found footage – if a movie foregoes this foolish true-story framing, more power to it, but when they tack that on at the beginning or end, it’s just insulting our intelligence. Perhaps I sound like a broken record, but as long as movies keep doing this, I will keep calling them out and rating them accordingly.
Paranormal Activity 2 is just as tedious and boring as the first film, with the only real caveat being the characters are a bit better (focusing on a family, even a privileged one, is more engaging than a couple, I always thought). It’s still not a good movie, and it amazes me that this won any awards at all.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. If you want to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Paranormal Activity 2, than this is the perfect video for you.