Paranormal Activity 2
PA2 is certainly a strong contender for scary movie of the year. Viewers of recent years have seen lots of movies using scare tactics, such as flashes in front of the camera, sudden noises, and horrific visages to try and induce terror. It’s also true that these things work… momentarily, but when they’re done right, like they are here, you have the makings of a great, suspenseful thriller. There are very few “jump” moments, as most of the movie is from the security camera’s point of view. In fact, most of the actual visual suspense comes from seeing doors and things move slowly on their own, when you know the demon is about. Sometimes, it’s not so subtle though. There’s a clear escalation of presence through the movie, and the slow build up inevitability makes it all the more frightening.
Sound effects are clearly where this movie shines. There’s a demon in that house, and it’s not afraid to let them know that. One of the best things about this movie is a hallmark of classic horror: the auditory cue. There’s a creepy, white noise like effect every time the evil spirit is about to do something. It makes the moment to moment of the movie all the more tense; because, when you hear that sound, you know something is about to happen, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
Clearly, the biggest difference between this movie and most other horror movies is the camera style. PA2, in keeping with its predecessor, uses five fixed view security cameras and one handheld to portray the action. Not only does this give the audience a unique view of the events, but also, it makes everything seem more real, a key aspect of a good scary movie. The security cameras in particular allow for the fixed view of the night camera from the first movie, which means that sometimes you won’t see exactly what’s going on; perhaps, sometimes that’s for the best.
Plot wise, this movie ties everything up nicely. I don’t want to go into details about it, but it just plain makes sense. There weren’t exactly many questions left after the first movie other than “why did this happen?” The sequel fills out the missing information and offers up some key details of its own.
My only complaint comes from a scene near the end of the movie. The family’s loyal German shepherd takes things into her own hands, attacking the demon, and you can see that she’s physically attacking something. Part of the suspense of the movie is that the characters have no way of interacting with this spirit on any normal level. Unless dogs are special, anyone could theoretically assault the spirit, and that’s just not in the spirit of the film.
This was my favorite scary movie in a long time. As much as I don’t believe they’ve left room for another sequel, I would definitely go see it if they made one. If you’re looking for a good scary movie (finally), then go see Paranormal Activity 2.
-Austin Widmer, Staff Writer