Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Brian Boland, Molly Ephraim, Sprague Grayden, VIVIS, Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
Directed by Tod “Kip” Williams
Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment
If there’s one thing that still amazes me to this very day, it’s how well the sequel to the Oren Peli created phenomenon known as Paranormal Activity turned out. Here is a movie that by all means should not have worked. There was just no need for a sequel. However, Peli and company defied the odds and delivered a movie that ended up once again scaring the shit out of most of the world.
Before we begin, let’s do a quick story recap. Some minor SPOILERS follow so if you haven’t seen the movie and do not want to know anything going in, you may want to skip the next paragraph.
Still with us? Good. You’re either a fan or someone who’s just reading this so you can complain about how this movie didn’t scare you, yadda yadda. Now then, Paranormal Activity 2 acts as more of a prequel than it does a sequel. What we have here is the story of Katie’s sister, Kristi (Grayden), and her family as they welcome a new addition to their little tribe, a bubbly bouncing baby boy named Hunter. Almost immediately after getting the new kid set up in their abode, things start happening. Mainly they come home to find their house completely wrecked, and as a result security cameras are installed throughout the structure to catch any intruders or pranksters. It’s through these cameras that the lion’s share of the action takes place. There’s still a good amount of hand-held camera work to be found, but for the most part director Williams has found an ingenious way of addressing the whole “Camera Movement Makes Me Sick” argument that some people have with cinéma-vérité style films. And that’s all you really need to know. The cameras are rolling, and just like in the original film all of the spooky is presented here via assembled found footage. For a more in-depth look at the film itself, read our original Paranormal Activity 2 theatrical review here.
The first and most important thing people are going to want to know about this package is what is new in the unrated director’s cut that runs a full seven minutes longer than its theatrical cousin. The added footage is primarily placed throughout the movie to add a little more exposition with the teenage daughter, Ali (Ephraim), who at one point discusses her nightmares of a figure standing by her bed (very akin to Katie’s nightmares in the original film), and some good old fashioned extra torment for Daniel, the dad (Boland). When I say “extra torment”, I mean more creepy demon-induced hijinx, only one of which, dealing with fire, feels slightly ill-placed. Overall the theatrical cut is a much tighter viewing experience, but for fans seeing everything is just priceless.
In terms of the Blu-ray and DVD, of course the picture and sound quality favor high definition, but DVD owners don’t have anything to worry about either. With a movie like this, the rawer it looks, the better. Where the Blu-ray does shine, however, is with the addition of the “Found Footage” deleted scenes, of which we get almost four minutes. One is absolutely killer, and I wish it had been inserted back into the movie for the director’s cut. It doesn’t have anything supernatural going on, but wow, does it pack a punch. In terms of special features, that’s it really. A teaser trailer is included, too, but I’m not sure how special of a feature that is to be considered. Just like the original release, sadly, Paramount has opted for the pretty much bare bones route, hoping that in the case of these films less is more. Hey, at least we get two cuts of the film, right?
For the optimum viewing experience we recommend starting Paranormal Activity 2, pausing at the correct point, then popping in Paranormal Activity, watching it, and then putting 2 back in to finish off your night. These two films do nothing but complement each other, and they truly do mesh seamlessly.
This flick probably isn’t going to win over anyone who hated the first one. For some people these movies just don’t work, but for those of us that are affected by them? Wow. Paranormal Activity 2 perfectly expands upon the mythology of the first film by completely selling and explaining certain aspects of it and leaves the door open for the third entry in the series, which is already on its way. We have NO IDEA where they’re headed next, and the pressure is certainly on. Can lightning strike three times? Stranger things have happened. In the interim enjoy this one, and have fun with that pause button on your Blu-ray or DVD remote. There are plenty of subtle things you may not have noticed before just waiting to be found. Grab your friends, turn out the lights, crank up the sound, and let the scares begin!
Blu-ray Special Features
DVD Special Features
4 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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