For the next 31 days, the crew at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing multiple horror flicks everyday leading up to Halloween. Every pick will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, flat-out awful or all of that and more. All endured in honor of the season. Expect spoilers. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s 31 DAYS OF HORROR PART 3.
PLOT: The sequel to the low-budget blockbuster PARANORMAL ACTIVITY takes place a few months before the events of the first film. Katie (Katie Featherston), the much put-upon leading lady in the original, has a sister living in an upscale Los Angeles suburb named Kristi (Sprague Grayden). Kristi has a new baby son, Hunter; a likable lug of a husband named Daniel (Brian Boland), who owns several fast-food joints; a teenage stepdaughter from her hubby's first marriage, Ali (Molly Ephraim); and a large, friendly dog. As the family gets used to the new arrival, strange noises are heard late at night and when they come home from an outing, they discover the house has been trashed, even though none of their valuables have been stolen.
Daniel responds by installing a security system and a network of surveillance cameras, though that doesn't stop the noises or the Latino housekeeper's insistence that spirits lurk in the home. When Katie and her boyfriend, Micah (Micah Sloat), stop by for a visit, they discuss the strange goings-on with Kristi; the women of the house believe supernatural forces are at work, while the men find that notion ridiculous. That doesn't last long, as the spirits get noisier and angrier, especially when Ali begins doing some research on the subject, and before long the safety of the household is being threatened on several fronts, possibly due to some dirty dealings in the family's distant past.
REVIEW: Alanna Lynn here. I got to see PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 back-to-back to the first one, but THIS time it was a first. I have no idea why it took me so long to see it, but it did. I already knew it was a prequel/midquel/sequel to the first movie, and knowing that I was able to predict a few things, but that didn’t take away from the movie too horribly.
Believe it or not, I feared for the dog. Yes, the entire time I was asking if the dog would be hurt, the dog, the dog, et cetera. Who cares about the adorable baby or the dumb teenager, the dog was the most innocent character the in the entire movie. Well, the dog and the pool cleaner-- that thing is was beyond its years in intelligence, don’t ya think? And the dad? Stop trying to make a dang excuse for every little thing! That’s why you bought those fancy hi-def cameras! GO WATCH THE TAPES AND BEAR WITNESS TO THE SUPERNATURAL SHENANIGANS! (/frustration)
Anyways, PA2 was flawed in one key way: I kept laughing at it and that dispersed the tension a bit too much. Every time they showed the pool I would burst out laughing, the same with the pool-cleaner, or the pots and pans. Maybe I am a terrible person to let see horror movies, but still…. Why was there so much humor in this movie? If it had been more straight-scary, I may have been more inclined to scream.
PA 2 was definitely a good follow-up to the first one, it just needed some toning down on the humor side. The scares were pretty solid, and the story good, but it wasn’t and couldn’t be on par with the first movie. With no truth-rumors or talk behind it like the first one, it failed to live up to the same levels.
On the other hand, it genuinely had some “Oh shit!” moments for me, so there’s a gold star. And despite how dumb Micah was in the first one for antagonizing the demon, the father in this one was the biggest dummy on the planet for not thinking to check the freaking cameras. What an idiot.
BODY COUNT: 2 …maybe 3. All depends on whether or not you count the alternate ending. Don’t count it and you’ve only got two deaths. Count it and you’ve three, one of which is the death of baby Hunter. That’s right, baby death. The original ending had Katie snap little Hunter’s neck and calmly leave the house. Yikes!
BEST KILL: Daniel’s death is pretty amazing. Dude is just kicking back, watching a little TV and minding his own. Next thing you know, Katie appears behind him and snaps his neck with little to no effort. Damn.
NAKEDNESS: The ladies get Micah Sloat and Brian Boyland shirtless and the guys get all the lovely ladies of PA2 in skimpy bikinis.
SIGNATURE MOMENT: I might be in the minority here, but I found the revelation of how the picture of young Katie made it into the attic in the first film to be the biggest shock moment in the movie. The moral implications of this moment are just staggering. Second place goes to the initial shock moment (it only happens the first time you see the movie) when you realize that PA2 has ceased being a prequel and transformed into a full-blown sequel.
IDIOT MOMENT: Daniel takes way too f**king long to check those cameras. Why install them if you’re not willing to review the recorded footage and she what is actually happening around your house?
FANBOY FACT: Brian De Palma, Akiva Goldsman and Kevin Greutert were all considered to direct. Greutert was actually hired and had to drop out due to his previous commitment to direct SAW 3D: THE FINAL CHAPTER.
VERDICT: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 was definitely a good follow-up to the first one, it just needed some toning down on the humor side. The scares were pretty solid, and the story good, but it wasn’t and couldn’t be on par with the first movie.
TRIVIA: The teaser trailer was seen with THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE upon its release on June 30, 2010. Cinemark pulled the trailer from several Texas theaters after receiving complaints that it was too frightening.
On the official site for the film, there are secret messages when the trailer is fast-forwarded or rewound. Additionally, after the trailer finishes playing, the baby appears in the mirror but isn't present in the nursery. Also in the mirror, letters written in what seems to blood spell a message. After flipping the picture horizontally, the message says, "What is happening to Hunter?".
There are two Ramones and one Misfits poster in Ali's room. Daniel Rey, namesake of Brian Boland's character, produced albums for both The Ramones and The Misfits.
This film was announced shortly after Paranormal Activity was released into theaters.
As with the third installment, the theatrical trailer and teaser for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 feature dozens of moments not seen in either the theatrical cut of the film or the "Unrated Director's Cut" released to DVD and Blu-Ray.