I just had a quick look at my review of “Paranormal Activity”, published in November 2009. I seemed to remember I was a little too nice to that movie, but apparently, I wasn’t. I thought it was a really boring, unscary movie, and I haven’t changed my mind since. It was a movie in which nothing at all happened, and then at the end, a woman is dragged out of her bed by an invisible ghost. Annoying movie. Irritating. But it made lots of money, and not totally unexpected, here’s a sequel – or rather, a prequel. Director this time is Tod Williams, a more experienced fellow than Oren Peli, who made the original.
“Paranormal Activity 2” wasn’t screened to the press where I live, so I had to attend a sold-out premiere screening. It didn’t start out very well. A guy wondered if I would mind changing seat, since he and his girlfriend didn’t get the seats next to each other. So, I moved (I’m way too polite) and ended up on the back row, on the edge. Worst place one can imagine. And as usual, the movie going experience was far for horrifying that the movie itself. I was the oldest one there. People were talking and talking and talking and waving their cell phones from beginning to end. I could only tell the ones sitting next to me to shut the hell up. A couple of girls in one of the front rows tried to tell the audience to be silent, but nobody cared. Somebody, please, create an NC-40 rating immediately! Nobody under 40 admitted. How come only idiots go to the movies these days?
Okay. On to the movie.
En family moves into a big house and they have the odd habit of videotaping everything they do. Don’t ask me why, when are they going to watch all the movies? The couple from the original movie shows up, they’re related to the family.
After living there for some time, the family comes home to find the place in a mess; things have been smashed. They do of course believe there’s been a burglary, but nothing has been stolen. Weird. They install security cameras in all of the rooms. But do you really think it was a burglar who was there? No, of course not. It’s the invisible ghost, and it sure is grumpy. It’s definitely woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Or grave.
The last third of this movie is really good. The filmmakers whip up a pretty thick horror mood and a series of really cool things happen – and the young audience screamed their heads off. I sounded like sitting next to a roller coaster. A girl next to me said she was so scared she felt like throwing up..
But the problem is the journey to this last third. Just like the last time, it’s pretty damn boring. We get to follow an ordinary family’s leading an ordinary life. It’s like watching somebody’s home movies and totally uninteresting. Like an unusually lame reality show. But hey, for some unexplainable reason, today’s TV audiences like watching uninteresting people’s lives on TV, and they like following blogs written by ordinary people depicting their exceptionally ordinary lives.
Williams lines up a bunch of so-called “false scares”. We get to see what the security cameras film by night. There’s a rumbling noise on the soundtrack. The audience was on the edge during these scenes. But during the movie’s first half, absolutely nothing happens. We’re therefore sitting there, staring at almost static images of empty rooms.
But… Then we see have something invisible grabs little Hunter, the baby of the family and slowly pulls him out of his bed… And yes, I have to admit I found the movie quite thrilling near the end – I actually jumped a couple of times, as some loud sounds of slamming doors make you do.
However, I really don’t understand why Paramount still pretend this is authentic footage from a crime scene, that it’s a real case. The movie opens with a caption thanking the families of the survivors of this case. Very silly. But I’ve actually met people who believe the first movie true!
“Paranormal Activity 2” is much better than the original movie. If all of the movie was as good as the last third, I’d be more positive than I am, but no, the main bulk of the movie is boring. And that’s a shame.
Image copyright © Paramount Pictures Sweden