Published Oct 22, 2010Fans of Paranormal Activity will get what they came for: more doors slamming, loud noises, and various other parlour tricks. It was all done better in the previous entry, but that shouldn't deter audiences looking for a Friday night scare. It's tailor-made to have your date jumping into your arms, so much so that some in the promo screening seemed to let their expectations precede them, tittering in terror at the slightest provocation. There are some legitimate, scream-inducing moments, but there's also a high level of tedium. This was a trademark of the first movie as well, but in that case the payoff was so unexpectedly satisfying that all was forgiven. Now the scares come earlier in the narrative but since the cat is out of the bag, it feels a lot more lifeless.
The sister of the first film's busty protagonist undergoes similar demon-problems during a nearly parallel time-line, so this is actually a prequel of sorts. However, the link between the two sisters becomes a little convoluted towards the end, and many in the audience were requesting explanations from those beside them. Among the new characters are a business-owning father whose scepticism is so predictable as to border on unintentional comedy. The casting of a hot teen daughter was a choice I can easily get behind. There are also a baby and a dog in the mix, and these voiceless creatures are responsible for most of the tension and almost all of the pathos, since the speaking characters do little to earn it. The lesson: a lot of people love dogs and babies, other more prurient types love Katie Featherston's cleavage and hot teen daughters in horror movies, but everybody loves a good scare. (Paramount)