Saturday, November 5th, 2011

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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Same director, different writers.

The couple from Paranormal Activity 1 are minor characters in this movie, which actually mostly takes place before the events of Paranormal Activity 1. Mostly. (Katie is not fat! What’s wrong with everyone?)

The new main characters are related to the original ones, and played by Sprague Grayden (Olivia, the bitch daugher of the president in the final season of 24, and also the actress with the stupidest name ever. Sprague? She was also in 3 eps of Weeds, and 12 eps of Six Feet Under) and Brian Boland. Their daughter is played by Molly Ephraim, who comes off as hot jailbait but is really in her 20’s. She’s in some Disney b-movie rated 3.7 called College Road Trip, where she performs a bunch of songs. Probably sucks compared to a National Lampoon equivalent (And that’s saying a lot).

Even the dog was a great actor, though. (Some people are complimenting the pool cleaner’s acting skills, too. Haha.)

PLOT SUMMARY: A family movies into a new house which is haunted. The plot is very generic; it’s the way it’s executed that makes this movie good.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Family kills own relatives in failed bid to keep demon from taking their baby.

QUIRKS: Security-cam horror mostly taking place in one house.

VISUALS: There’s more cameras installed in the house in this movie, so we end up seeing more different camera angles when compared to Paranormal Activity 1. It makes it a bit more lively.

MORALS: Don’t fuck with demons. Get the fuck out of that house. Give them what they want. [highlight for spoilers] Sic’ing a demon on your sister isn’t going to solve your problems.

GOOD STUFF: GREAT GREAT GREAT movie to watch alone in a single-family home. I can’t see this being NEARLY as scary in a theatre, or even in a town house or apartment complex. You need to be in a house, with lots of empty, dark rooms. Preferely one that multiple unrelated people have told you ghosts are in before (i.e. ours).

I am always more scared by movies that make supernatural beliefs seem realistic, than by movies that just have someone mortal doing the killing, or movies that have an unrealistic portrayal of the supernatural. (Who decides what is realistic? Me, of course!). Even Jason Vorhees of Friday The 13th seems unrealistic to me, compared to the ghosts in the Paranormal Activity movies. Ghosts are supposed to be faint projections, not dudes in hockey masks walking around in the flesh. And as such, ghosts portrayed the way they are in this movie are FAR scarier than the villains found in 99% of horror movies.

They actually had jump scares in broad daylight that freaked us both out with their unexpectedness. Shit was FUCKED UP. It was bad. Carolyn couldn’t even leave the room after the movie. I was tired and passed out on the couch. She made it about 30 seconds in the bedroom before coming out here and laying on another couch. Even the next day, during the daylight, she was unsettled and freaked out. I was freaked out after the movie too, but chose to revel in it. Even the next day when I went to take a nap, I was notably off-put in my bedroom. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO ME. Which makes this movie a psychological triumph for me, just like the first.

In fact, this was better than the first. They had a house with more people, so there were more people aware that something strange was going on. Yet, there was no way to stop it. Having more people in the house actually increased the feeling of helplessness you felt.

And then there’s the story. The events in Paranormal Activity 1 are now explained with much more thoroughness. There is now a coherent explanation for both movies. Things didn’t just happen randoly, THERE ARE REASONS. Can’t wait to see how Paranormal Activity 3 deals with this!

“It just perfectly taps into that vague fear everyone gets when their house/apartment makes those unexplainable noises.” –random IMDBer

BAD STUFF: A bit slow of a build-up compared to most horror movies, but that is because this is going for realism more than a formulaic horror movie where someone has to die in the first 2 minutes to set the mood. Some people complained about there being so much security camera footage, and honestly it seems to me that they have completely forgotten that Paranormal Activity 1 actually had FEWER cameras, and as such had less variance in shots, making it a bit less interesting than this one. Don’t listen to the naysayers.

CONCLUSION: Not only was this better than Paranormal Activity 1, but I can’t think of another movie that actually scared Carolyn *AND* me so much.


Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10. (Compared to 5/5 stars, 8/10 for Paranormal Activity 1.)

Carolyn: Netflix: 4.6/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10. (Compared to 4/5 stars, 8/10 for Paranormal Activity 1.)
“I liked it better than the 1st one. I think the first one had more of a creep factor, but overall, the second one had more going on and was more exciting throughout.. and there wasn’t any stupid demonologist stuff.. and the husband in this one was way less douchy than the boyfriend in the first one..”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.0/10 (compared to 6.9 for #1), Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (compared to 3.1 for the original). (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.1/5 stars–higher than average, but still wrong).

It seems like the Netflix crowd liked this better than the original, but the IMDB crowd did not. Another interesting disparity.

RECOMMENDATION: This may not be for everybody; it simply may not be scary by default for people. But personally, I’d recommend Paranormal Activity 1 & 2 as the best horror movie franchise since Saw. (Saw being more “horrific” than “terrifying”.)

SIMILAR MOVIES: Blair Witch Project (ghosts in woods). The Fourth Kind (aliens). Quarantine/Rec (zombies). Cloverfield (monsters). All great post-modern “camera-based” movies.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: People seemed to generally like it, with a couple being like “it’s ghey”.



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