Director: Tod Williams
Starring: Molly Ephraim, Brian Boland, Sprague Grayden
The first Paranormal Activity was an admirably underground and low-budget flick that I sadly just didn’t find too well done otherwise. It just didn’t have a whole lot going for it, between the numerous scenes that just sort of dragged on and the ludicrously silly ending. It was a film with potential that just hadn’t been realized yet. Now we have the second one, and while it’s still got problems, I did find it more enjoyable and compelling than its predecessor. The main reason is just that there were more characters and things going on in this one. The first movie just had the 2 characters and nobody else, and they weren’t exactly the most interesting ones, either. A lot of time was spent on very clichéd ‘research horror stuff’ scenes that just went nowhere and failed to interest the audience once the actual scares started. This one has several characters, an entire family, and they’re much more interesting to me. They actually did stuff and had interactions that drew you in. Even the silly scenes at the beginning with them in the pool and doing lighthearted stuff worked alright, as it did get the audience into them and their situation. The main girl was really good, and the dad worked pretty well too.
Now, the problem with this movie is perhaps even more pronounced than the last one – maybe just because I’m actually interested. The problem is that not a lot happens in the first half hour or so. This is a very slow moving film, and I’m all for that, but this was just too slow sometimes, with all these scenes of the cameras ‘watching’ the house and nothing really going on. I appreciate the subtlety and realistic nature of these scenes, but please, next time just cut them down and focus more on the conversations between the characters and the actual paranormal activity, please. Once the film got going and started showing us the real scares, it was quite entertaining, and I found myself liking it fairly well. This still isn’t a great film, but maybe the third movie will reach that plateau. Until then, this is OK, and I could watch it again and not regret doing so.