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MOVIE REVIEW: Paranormal Activity 2

Something scary to do for Halloween

Paranormal Activity 2: Rates a C-.
Courtesy photo

Same &#!%, different demon.

And different house, too. The first Paranormal Activity (which had a few good scenes, but was a below average horror flick) was filmed at a house in Rancho Penasquitos. PA2 movies up north to a bigger, nicer house in Carlsbad. And a bigger budget (the first movie cost $15,000; this one cost $3 million).

I think this movie is a lot better than the first, but the problem is it rehashes so many things from the first – it loses a lot of points for that. Some of the scenes are exactly like the first.

They do some really interesting things with the automated pool hose filter, but I think they could’ve gone farther. I remember in Poltergeist, we keep seeing the toy clown in the child's bedroom. At the end it’s hiding under the bed. As it jumps out at the kid, the arms wrapping around the boy, it’s like a child's worst fear. I thought it would’ve been clever to have the pool filter thingy come through the doggy door and kill their German shephard.

I think they could’ve gotten clever with the letters that spelled the baby name “Hunter.” If the name would’ve been “Daniel” at some point in the movie, when all the doors are flying open and pans are dropping, it could’ve had letters missing to spell “D ie.” (note to self: contact filmmakers, offer to write PA3 for the low, low price of $10,000)

And speaking of the dog, they make great use of him and the baby. It creates an interesting atmosphere having them look off to the side, where we just saw a door open by itself.

Some of the writing had funny scenes which worked well. I also enjoyed the fact that the teenage daughter had a rebellious side (Misfits and Ramones posters on the wall, boyfriend sneaking over one night), but was also a sweet kid. There’s a scene when she’s upset her dad fires the maid that’s very well done.

I did find myself bored a few times, and creating my own jokes.

When the dad (who often sports a Chargers cap) says that he’s going to watch the Chargers games on his new big screen, I thought to myself – if they black it out, is he going to think ghosts caused that?

I was a little unclear about the maid and how she knew the house was “haunted.” In movies, maids seem to know just what to say to the kids, or the married couple that’s fighting. And I guess they know when a house is haunted. My mom has a maid, and she can’t even seem to clean the tub properly. She needs to find one of these genius maids.

I was also unclear in one scene whether or not a ghost left a big dump in the toilet, or if that was just from the Jackass crew that was in the next theater over.

After recently seeing Let Me In, and complaining about how it was just like Let the Right One In, I have the same complaint with this. Sure, there are a lot of scary moments, but they just milk from the first one so much, it’s redundant. It was a case of déjà boo.

If you’re looking for a scary movie for Halloween, though…this fits the bill nicely.

I’m giving it a C-.