Director: Tod Williams
Writer: Oren Peli
Stars: Katie Featherston
Handheld camera? Check. Creepy soundtrack? Check. Spirits more haunting than before? Check. And it's a sequel, well, prequel. Yes, we are now ready to experience the next chapter in the Paranormal Activity story. This time being set before the antics that took place on our screens last year, this film will more than likely bring you to tears, make you leave the cinema or just leave you an utterly paranoid.
There's something about this film that brings with it a real sense of fear. The technique it uses has been done before and the story is a familiar one to us. But there is no doubt in my mind this is the scariest film I have possibly seen- And I love horrors. Without an inch of exaggeration, I was trembling when the film finished and find it hard now to sit by myself in room without thinking something strange is going on. And this is why the film is so successful, because it plays on your fear of the unknown.
The story is simple - A house is haunted by an unknown presence that causes a whole lot of fuss. The filming is what intensifies the action slightly. Having static security cameras filming in real time mixed with a hand held home video camera heightens the reality. The special effects and deep focus of the picture means something could be happening anywhere with a truly horrifying effect. Plus, with this we have the less than appealing soundtrack. No music, just a low humming when something paranormal is about to happen. It prepares you for what may happen next, but you don't know what effect it will have on you. It could just be a mobile spinning around a crib... Or it could be a woman being dragged down the stairs. The inconsistency of action makes it that much on edge.
The acting, just like the first, is perfect for the story. We're with real looking people that could be your neighbours and they play up to the cameras in a "Ooh, you're filming me, hi camera!" way. We watch their actions happen just like you would watch anyone on the street. It's very voyeuristic which creates the intrigue. But when those titles appear saying "Night 8" you just about begin to panic. With this sense of intrigue comes the dilemma of watching the screen or not, because you want to see what happens, but it is utterly terrifying at how long it drags out and how mysterious the activity may be.
As the first was so low budget with such an impact on the audience, you probably think this won't match up. But the reality in my eyes is that it's better. The only difference really is that the picture is in slightly higher definition, due to the rise in budget, and the events take place a lot more. The same effect of drawn out tension and vulnerability runs through. Paranormal Activity climaxed at the very end of the film with an almighty thud (excuse the pun) but the 2nd takes you right up there on the fear level, brings you down and rises again. You're drained emotionally afterwards and leave uneasily as the ending is very unsettling. It slightly cops out by using a similar finish to the first (don't worry, that's not a spoiler). But with the added events to the film, as a whole this just takes the story to another level - You're not even safe in the day time!
Every word of the hype doesn't leave this film disappointing. In fact, you're probably not even nearly prepared enough to see a very original and exciting, horrifying tale. Good luck!
Here's some reactions if you didn't believe me: