Sunday, October 31, 2010

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (2010)

Some years ago, a movie emerged that utilized a fairly inventive camcorder POV technique and creepily deliberate pacing to deliver solid shocks and draw record crowds to what was essentially an old-school spookshow horror film. And its name was THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Later, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY happened also.

And now it's a sequel! Sort of! Actually, most of PA2 is a PREQUEL, which worried me when I realized what was happening. Since sequels (or prequels) tend to jettison what worked in the preceding entry in favor of explaining the day away. And that usually sucks, especially in this kind of movie. No one needs to know that the demon is upset because his mom was a stripper or have a movie read the legal statutes incumbent in a curse. Although PA2 does explain a bit more about the PA mythos, it's presented in a way that makes sense AND that can be disregarded if you disagree. Because a maid and the Internet are not authoritative sources.

PA2 is necessarily and unnecessarily less effective than PA1. For one thing, this movie relies upon the structure and tropes set into place by the first film, so since you're expecting loud noises and cabinets banging and shit, you're not as susceptible to them by this point. There's one way effective jump scene in this one and one that comes off like a Rob Zombie remake of the better scene in the first movie.

As far as unnecessary uneffectivity, PA1 wasn't exactly a bonanza of character development, but Katie Featherston's character at least drew audience sympathy. And guess what? She's STILL the most sympathetic character in PA2, even though she's in it for perhaps ten whole minutes tops (unfortunately not tank tops, which are sorely missed [but there is a pool scene, so don't cry!]). This entry centers around Katie's family, who are mostly annoying Californians, the dog and possibly the baby excepted. All is well and good by the second half, when the movie kicks into loud banging and flying cookware overdrive, but...

The first half is REALLY tedious and ponderous and talky. Pacing is a big issue with this one...I really feel it could have been tightened up A LOT (and emphasis distributed to events much more competently...one character goes from die-hard nonbeliever to believer in record time).

I assume that we'll get a second sequel, given some of the questions raised (like why are these cursed women always ending with such inept men). I'll probably see it and enjoy it, if it's at least as good as this one. If you loved the first one, you'll like this.

#30 of 31 ZOMG!!!

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