Director: Tod Williams
Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Molly Ephraim
I loved Paranormal Activity, I thought it utilized the overdone mock-documentary style to its advantage resulting in some fresh scares and creepy images. I thought it was a great concept and a welcome addition to the possession subgenre. I thought that it was a film that could benefit from a sequel, despite the fact that it was obviously set up for one, there were elements from the first story that could be expanded upon to make a decent follow up.
However, Paranormal Activity 2 isn’t really a sequel or a prequel. This installment takes place during the same time as the first film only from the perspective of Katie’s sister, Kristi (Sprague Grayden). Paranormal phenomena are occurring in her household as well, slowly driving Kristi crazy and driving apart her family. Kristi’s step daughter, Ali (Molly Ephraim) is the first to start investigating the strange disturbances in their house and must also try to convince the father (Brian Boland) that Kristi and the baby are in danger. Kristi and Katie discuss further what was touched upon in the first film – that this entity has haunted them before when they were younger, and they are afraid it has come back to torment them again. When Ali discovers that their grandmother’s family secret, it’s cheesy but Ephraim is a solid casting choice, both entertaining and believable, so we continue to follow along as well.
The film plays out pretty straightforward, but it’s interesting to see how the end of the whole ordeal plays out from this angle. While not as many thrills as the first film, there are a couple of solid “paranormal” scenes but overall a lot of wasted time on scenes with an empty build up that doesn’t fall through. Worth the watch if only for an added bit of story, but this one definitely did not have as big an impact on the audience compared to the first time around.