Tod Williams, USA, 2010, 91 min.
There is something deepy terrifying about having a demon attached, not to the house you live in, but to you. No matter where you go, that demon will be with you, physically and spiritually, and will torment you for the rest of your life. There is nothing you could do to stop it.
That is the premise of the first Paranormal Activity, which told the film through the gimmick of “actual footage” of in-movie cameras, both hand-held and stationary. It was an effective little low-budget horror film (only $15,000) , which was smart enough to take its time and avoid shakey cam.
The sequel has the same gimmick (but the budget was $3 million, how does that happen?) It also destroys the terrifying hook of the first film by inventing a stupid backstory for the demon and a way to link this film to the first. There was no need to explain things, the idea mentioned above is scary enough as it is.
That being said, it also takes a very long time to get to some actual tension. The number of each night in the film is noted on the screen and it isn’t until Night #11 that something significant actually happens. It’s the rare time when I wanted a film to stop building mood and actually get to a payoff.
This was a film that had no reason being made except to get some quick bucks. You always hope in those situations that the director will take the opportunity to make the film his or her own, or at least to do something new. That wasn’t the case.
Rumor has it that Brian De Palma was at one point approached to direct. Now that would have been something to see.