I Dislike Paranormal Horror Films…So Let’s Watch The Paranormal Activity Franchise: Part 2
Every Halloween, I always make sure to watch specific horror films: ‘Saw’, ‘Trick ‘r’ Treat’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘Tusk’ are all watched every year to the point where I probably know the script by heart. However, I wanted to do something different this year, and step out of my comfort zone a bit.
One of the horror subgenres that I dislike the most are Possession films. Films like ‘Devil’s Due’, ‘Amityville Horror’ and ‘The Last Exorcism’ never seem to hold my interest, and even a classic like ‘The Exorcist’ took me a few days to finish because I kept losing interest. So, I want to give myself a challenge: at the end of each week this month, starting today, I will be watching all of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ films, with the last four acting as a double upload on the last two weeks of October.
‘Paranormal Activity 2’ was released in 2010 and takes place before the first film. After they’re convinced someone broke into their home, the Rey family install security cameras around, and outside, the house hoping to catch the perpetrator. However, what they encounter is anything but human.
The three-year gap between the two films implies that ‘Paranormal Activity’ was supposed to be a one-off film. However, due to its unexpected success, Paramount Pictures were scrambling to find a way to continue the paranormal success.
After I surprised myself by enjoying the first film, I was ready to continue the tension and shocks. But, while the first film had good pacing and displayed a slow progression that made it feel like the events were getting worse, this film felt like a chore to get through. The pacing was extremely slow, and any interesting events occurred in the last 15-20 minutes. While this is a prequel, so the story is going to be a little slow paced, the film was promoted as a ‘terrifying’ follow up. And terrifying it is not. The film can be summed up by an hour and 10 minutes of waiting for something to happen and being disappointed that nothing happened. If this film served as a prequel, it should’ve been released before the first film, because it would’ve felt like an actual story progression.
Because this is a prequel, Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat make an appearance and serve as the interesting plot point, revolving around Katie and sister Kristi’s grandmother making a deal with a demon and dealing with the consequences of that. This particular story arc appears in the third act and is the most interesting part of the film because it explains how Katie got possessed by the demon. The ending where, after the events of the first film, Katie comes back for Kristi’s infant son, Hunter, is also interesting. Hopefully the third film continues this plotline.
Another aspect of the film that I liked, once again, is the motivation behind the way that it’s filmed. This time, security cameras are set up around Kristi’s house after their house gets partly destroyed. It makes sense that this would be the family’s response to this dangerous scenario, since they think someone broke into their house. As well as this, there are more characters that appear. Like previously mentioned, Hunter is Kristi’s infant son, and their dog, Abby, also features mainly during the nights scenes where we see footage from the security cameras. It is often said that dogs and young children can sense or see things that adults can’t, so these two characters are interesting additions that do give its audience some tense moments. Unfortunately, one of the characters that could’ve been taken away or replaced was Kristi’s teenage daughter Ali. Her only purpose in the film is to see the strange happenings on the security cameras and find out why they’re happening.
While this is an arc that must happen in some form with these types of films, this particular arc could’ve been given to the nanny Martina, who believes in the good and bad spirits to begin with. Whether this would’ve worked or not is arguable, but the film should’ve gone in this direction. Either that, or remove Ali from the film altogether; it’s a bad sign when an exposition, and main, character isn’t onscreen much!
Overall, ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ was a boring prequel. It’s placement in the franchise is completely wrong and should’ve been the first film. If there was anything to recommend, it would be the last 20 minutes, as that is the important part of the story.
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