PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
(US, 2010, d. Tod Williams)
Not finding the original Paranormal Activity an overwhelming terror/horror experience, expectations were low for this one – and were fulfilled. Audiences may not even be whelmed but underwhelmed – unless they psych themselves up before they go in to have a terrifying experience.
Perhaps the psychological tactics of the writers and the director were to have the first hour so ordinary with the smallest of hints now and again that when the cupboards flew open at about minute 65, there was some cause to jump. Then there was some rough and tumble and a climax that moved beyond the realism the film seemed to be aiming at to have a hocus pocus experience and explanation.
As with the first film, the camera work is handheld, often by one of the characters, so we have close-ups of the family, the rooms, the swimming pool, and are we jerked around quite a bit. Then the camera work is that of the surveillance cameras placed around the house after the residents come home and find most of the rooms trashed. But, mainly, we are looking at the most mundane of situations that do not really rouse much interest. Day after day, night after night, glimpses of the pool, the dog, the baby (very cute), the empty rooms...
While the first film left it much more to the imagination to speculate on where the paranormality was coming from, this time there is a great deal of superstition which, surprisingly, most of the characters seem to take on. There is a Hispanic maid who wafts smoke to get rid of evil spirits (and obviously that didn’t work at all). Then the teenage daughter goes on line and finds out about deals done with demons for power and wealth and how the demon will return to take the firstborn male, however long it takes through the generations, as a sacrifice. This kind of mumbo jumbo, which most people in waking hours would not give a second thought to, is put forward as plausible – with some demonic possession to boot.
The films have been paranormally popular.