Like it or not, “Paranormal Activity” was the indie success story of the decade. After the big take off of “The Blair Witch Project,” director Oren Peli proved a valuable successor to the end of the twentieth century sensation by providing a horror film for the digital age where the chronicling of a couple at the mercy of a demon was filmed through HD camcorders and the advent of the then seasoned instrument of the worldwide web. “Paranormal Activity 2” commits what is almost an impossible task. It completely compliments the storyline of the original film while also adding to it.
It acts as a sequel and a prequel, and in the process a mid-point in a massive story that is hinted at during the film. What happened to Katie may or may not have happened to her sister Kristi. Regardless there is so much bad blood and boiled tension within the household of this new family we’re introduced to that their unwillingness to own up to their own resentment is what allows the demonic entity to enter the home the fateful day baby Hunter arrives at the doorstep on what should be a joyous occasion. In another genius twist, the producers behind Oren Peli’s premise manage to hint at things to come while also turning Katie in to one of the most devious modern villains of horror to date.
People who feared this would be a hastily put together sequel to follow-up the major success of the original can be relieved to discover the sequel not only manages to acknowledge the first film in every single frame possible, but also connects the storylines so flawlessly, it manages to click directly in to the first film to form what is easily one of the most harrowing and unnerving supernatural horror story narratives ever formed. Integrating elements from the original film in to an easily adaptable series of new characters, director Tod Williams and the screenwriters masterfully craft this new storyline that possesses the exact same amount of tension, suspense and ambiguity as the original film, offering a new dose of terror in to a blood soaked gore obsessed horror world never quite indicating what it is that is menacing this family.
At times there are hints at the father’s infidelity and the possible repercussions of character Daniel losing his wife to death insinuating that perhaps this entire haunting may not be a demonic entity. Perhaps it may be the angry force of a woman who has yet to accept her death and is intent on making the family pay for her anguish. Through it all the writers hand us hints that perhaps someone in the family of Katie and her sister made a deal that cost them the sanctity of their home life, and through it all what begins as a mere series of coincidences and odd disturbances spirals in to absolute madness and violence. Whatever the monster is that is ravaging the household is transformed in to a calculating being who systematically relinquishes the purity and innocence of the house in an effort to get to the baby Hunter for reasons not known until the climax.
When we finally do see the ultimate unnerving disturbing resolution to the terror, we see the unveiling of a new monster, and sign of things to come that could mean yet another of the family blood line being ravaged and torn to pieces by this ungodly being. “Paranormal Activity 2” is a brilliantly made and utterly entertaining follow-up to an instant classic, and it’s one you owe it to yourself to watch if you loved the original as it works as a companion piece and close sibling to Oren Peli’s masterpiece. Tod Williams thankfully does not serve us a half baked follow up to the original film as “Paranormal Activity 2” is only the beginning of a grander story. It’s wonderful to see a new series of horror films that isn’t so much concerned with splashing blood on to the audience as it is telling a well paced story with complex characters, all of whom fall victim to a harrowing demonic beast that is merciless, vicious, and much smarter than anyone thinks it to be. I anxiously await the third leg in the series.