Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Review: Paranormal Activity 2

Paranormal Activity 2 is not a great horror film, but it still packs in good thrills that commands mandatory viewing only in cinemas. Those of you who are planning to download it (or already have) to watch it on your laptops with the lights switched off, here’s a word of advice - don’t. You’re really ruining a film that seems already wasted in its second instalment.

The first film, Paranormal Activity was spooky for its unique treatment, inventive use of handheld and stationary cameras and a very clever online marketing campaign. Anticipation levels therefore reached a crescendo and audiences made a beeline to the plexes wanting to be spooked. That’s the holy grail of a horror film - we watch it because we want to get spooked. And the film managed to do it, successfully.

However the formula becomes clear and overused in this prequel, Paranormal Activity -2. The film is more or less a series of thrills, each coming at regular intervals and the director does us a favor by heightening the hum of the background score, whenever it happens. The story unfolds in the house of Katie’s sister, Kristi who lives her husband Daniel, daughter Ali and their newly born baby, Hunter. After their house gets mysteriously ransacked, the family decides to install security cameras in all their rooms. Strange things begin to happen as an invisible entity begins to create chaos.

About 15 minutes into the film, you begin guessing where’s the next thrill going to come from. What’s the next thing that'll fall off the hook? Will this be a thud in the bathroom, or will it be the kitchen? Or will it be the banging of the door? Who will the dog stare and cower in fear?

However, despite making the source of the thrills predictable, director Tod Williams succeeds in making you jump out of your seats every now and then, and provides a thrilling finish to the film and links it neatly to the first one. That’s a commendable achievement. The director has the format to thank for that, and the director of the first film, Oren Peli.

So yes, go watch this one at the theatres. My only worry is that Paranormal Activity’s formula may have become overused now - thanks to its lack of a coherent and gripping storyline. Although I wish there are no more sequels after this, I hear that Paramount Pictures has already signed Oren Peli to create a third film, which will be a prequel to Part 2.

Rating: ***

No comments: