So I gave it a miss.
This weekend I saw Paranormal Activity 2. I was inspired, sitting in the theater to think of an old Crosby, Stills & Nash song.
“Teach, your children well, teach them to shut the fuck up in the movie theater…”
It goes something like that right?
I do not mind people screaming in a horror movie. I do not mind the odd “Oh my God!!!” But I do mind “talk talk talk….giggle giggle giggle…talk talk talk…giggle giggle giggle” through the entire movie. When something happened there was even louder talking and giggling. Hell, I would even be less irked if I hadn’t seen that the kids were with their friggin PARENTS. They irritated my 13 year old so it isn’t just old fogey-ism (not that old fogeys cannot be irritating too. I also saw Hereafter in an audience full of geriatrics some of whom were incessantly hacking things up).
Paranormal Activity 2 doesn’t make a big mistake that other sequels of low budget films often make. It doesn’t try to go too far beyond the first. It is a unique sort of prequel/sequel that dispenses with unnecessary dialog. Most films would feel the need to explain what is happening which is totally pointless. Most of the audience have seen the first film and do not need much explanation. Even if you haven’t seen #1 you will get what is going on pretty quick (unless you have never seen a horror movie). It is sort of surprising that mainstream audiences like this movie, or the first one, because they are so subtle. No zombie with blood spewing from its mouth leaps out and bites off anyone’s face in this film. There are no vampires languidly pondering their immortality while fighting werewolves. The scares are more spine tingling. You see a door move. You see a shadow creep over a sleeping girl. You hear loud BANGS that cannot be explained.
I also marvel at the use of a very young child in this film. It must have required extraordinary patience to shoot the scenes with the child alone. Everyone who has been around a young child will feel a chill because kids that age do stare off at things that are “not there” all the time. Who KNOWS what they are reeeallly looking at!
A movie with this basic plot could easily turn into Poltergeist 5, The Spawning. It doesn’t. It maintains its rather slow pace throughout. It ends and leaves room for an immediate sequel without having to do back flips with the plot. Paranormal Activity 2 isn’t the scariest film I have seen in the past few years (that honor goes to the Spanish film, Rec. I broke my TOE watching that movie). But it is a rare horror sequel that changes from its predecessor subtly but remains true to the vision of that film. I am curious as to what the third installment brings because it cannot be more of the same; for one how do you, for a third time, justify the presence of cameras? Maybe it could be a documentary about the various disappearances?
Regardless I am looking forward to finding out.