Thursday, 1 July 2010
Why is the Paranormal Activity 2 trailer so scary it had to be taken out of cinemas? (Analysis)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qt_002jXjs - Watch if you dare.
Well, for a start the first 8 seconds on the YouTube video are silent already giving you that uneasy feeling. We're not welcomed with a light-hearted drum beat and guitar, we're simply given nothing leaving your mind to wonder what's about to happen. Inevitably you'll get a little bit anxious because you know you're about to watch something frightening.
When a sound finally does kick in, it's a flicker of a tape - That well known sound from the first film which you dreaded because that home video camera was what gave you all those sleepless nights. And then it cuts to a loud bang and the terrifying shot of the boyfriend being thrown at the camera. A clever trick to use as this was the most scary part of the whole first film, and you're suddenly thrown back into the horror. And then it freezes on the doorway, but where's Katie? Are we going to see her in this trailer, is she going to freak me out as much as she did before? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! This is when it starts to get intense and you can begin to see why it was removed.
The flickering starts, blurring your vision which leaves you to think you saw something or it's going to cut to something more troubling and then the zoom. A zoom into the doorway where KATIE IS?! Why? All you can think is stop zooming, stop zooming but it just carries on slowly meaning the tension builds in your body 10 times the pace the camera's going. Titles appear reminding us that it was a successful movie and gives the director (Oren Peli) a little ego boost (the new film is directed by Tod Williams) by saying "you demanded it" (which audiences did in cinemas in America because it wasn't going to be shown). We see flashes of a packed shocked audience showing the popularity and impact the scare factor had, giving it a more enticing appeal as so many people have the same reaction. And there she is! Katie, hello again you creepy woman. The sound is raised with some sort of screamy breath like noise and we see quick cut reaction shots to audience members meaning the intake of images becomes condensed into a few seconds of terror.
Uh oh, we seem to be in the same house with a few more things Katie might like to attack like a dog and a baby... Two of the most loved creatures on this Earth. Clever little ploy to make Katie even more powerful and horrendously evil. The cuts of the security footage around different areas of the house means this film obviously has a bigger budget and is going to have more locations to have her presence scare. They make the saucepans move like in the first one to remind you that she's around. Oh, I hear floorboards creaking... AND SO DOES THE DOG! Black screen, white titles "Nothing can prepare you"... Prepare us for what, prepare us for what?!
The dog is now barking and the baby is standing up. In the first film, we were scared because Katie the demon came at night when they were sleeping, and they were totally unaware. Now the dog is aware and the baby also seems to be upset by the reaction of the dog, subtly giving the clue that she's going to be able to cause more actions as she awakes the two most venerable parts of the family. Oh damn, the dog's backing away. It's a dog the police use. We are, as an audience, familiar with the aggressive nature they hold so to have this type of dog back away empowers the evil more.
It cuts back again, we now know what we can't be prepared for what's about to happen next by the titles appearing. But it never does tell you what that future is... It would probably ruin the movie, right? So, causally we cut to the living room, she's not there... OH MY GOD, THE BABY AND DOG ARE GONE and she's left standing in the doorway like some sort of crazed maniac. The focus on the dog and baby makes this scene all the more intense because we now know nothing of what happened during the flickering cut. And then all we're left with is the title of the movie appearing in a flickering form with a black screen.
So overall, this is a pretty intense trailer. You're on edge throughout providing that feeling you got from watching the first film. Now, the first wasn't great apart from the ending. But with a new director, bigger budget and Hollywood firmly behind it, this is probably going to be a lot more powerfully shocking. Lets hope so! And it's coming out around Halloween, Great!