Before I had the opportunity to see Paranormal Activity 2 last fall, I had no idea that the movie was going to be more than just another nerve-rattling experience in theaters but rather also an exploration of struggling familial dynamics, all captured through the eyes of teenager Ali. Played by Molly Ephraim, Ali portrayed the typical teenager going through some very untypical times when her stepmother gives birth to a brand new baby boy who becomes the target for an unstoppable demonic force.
Dread Central recently had an opportunity to catch up with Ephraim while she was doing the press rounds for the home release of the sequel and chatted with the actress about her experiences working on the project, the difficulties of shooting a horror movie, and what her thoughts are on a third installment in the franchise.
For Ephraim, PA 2 wasn’t just about things that go bump in the night and getting audiences to jump out of their seats. She recognized that, at its core, the movie was about an ordinary family trying to adjust to a lot of changes in their lives.
“I remember thinking when I first started on Paranormal 2 that it was going to just be another haunted house movie with people making loud noises and that kind of stuff, but it ended up being more about creating these relationships in the family so I really liked that they went in that direction,” explained Ephraim. “What I also thought was really great about the sequel is that they were able to bring in these new characters and create these relationships between them and the characters from the original. You don’t see that done well a lot in sequels, no matter which genre.”
One thing that surprised Ephraim when she finally saw the finished product was that the movie was from the point of view of her character, Ali. “I honestly didn’t know that I’d end up being sort of the storyteller to Paranormal 2 just because we had shot so much footage, I wasn’t sure what would be used in the end. I think it was a really cool direction to go in for the movie, and I think most people would have expected to see everything from Kristi since she was the sister. So I think it was pretty genius to do it this way.”
“I wanted to make sure Ali wasn’t just two-dimensional like a lot teens seem in movies these days,” added Ephraim. “I wanted her to seem like teenagers everyone really knows so she became someone you’ve either known or been yourself as a teen. Then, it would be easy to relate to her.”
Ephraim loved her experiences working with director Tod Williams and the rest of the cast on set, but sometimes having to go through the experiences of a teenager being terrorized by a demonic presence in her house left the young actress a bit rattled.
“I got a bit tortured on set, but it was mostly out of love I hope,” said Ephraim. “For a lot of those scenes you’d see when I’d be waking up, I had actually been asleep for a few minutes before whatever noise you’d see me respond to. Everyone has this reaction mechanism that happens when you’re startled awake, so that was me really being startled. Sometimes we’d know what was coming, sometimes we wouldn’t. It kept us on our toes big time.”
“Also, the scenes where Hunter is in danger were really hard for me to film because I have a younger brother, so I was very protective of the little guy playing Hunter. Those were really hard for me to film and hard to watch even when the movie was completed. There’s even a scene in the found footage that really disturbs me with Hunter that I probably won’t watch again. It’s almost too hard,” Ephraim added.
Not to give too much away, but since Ali’s storyline in PA 2 was left unresolved, we asked Ephraim if she had been approached yet for Paranormal Activity 3 since the movie bows in theaters this upcoming October.
“I haven’t been officially approached for the third Paranormal movie so I’m not sure which direction they’ll go in,” explained the actress. “I do know that Ali has some business to finish up and needs to find her brother, but I just don’t know what will happen yet. But whatever does happen with the next one, I just really hope they bring back Martine. I want to see her come back to kick some more butt on the big screen!”
READ THE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 REVIEW HERE!
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