Paranormal Activity 2
Time Out says
For almost an hour, virtually nothing happens apart from the rattling of a few pots and pans in the kitchen – a more appropriate title would have been ‘Paranormal Inactivity Too’. This is a disappointing horror sequel on a par with the chronically inept ‘Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’, featuring bland characters, over-familiar situations, tedious expository back-story and not a shred of imagination.
The alleged ‘found’ footage is prefaced by a title reading, ‘60 hours before the death of Micah Sloat’ – Sloat being the male character whose shocking demise marked the climax of the first film. After their comfortable suburban home is trashed, Christy persuades her husband to install CCTV cameras in the house and garden, to assure the safety of her teenage daughter (from a previous marriage) and their infant son, Hunter. These cameras then show us copious evidence of demonic (in)activity, capturing the mysterious opening of doors, the aimless nocturnal meanderings of the robotic swimming pool cleaner, and the mildly spooked behaviour of Hunter and the family dog. The sceptical father and the naïve teenage daughter, who is initially excited by the prospect of a haunting, are both later horrified by noises in the night, video-taped evidence of telekinetic activity and Christy’s increasingly wigged-out behaviour.
Only the cameo by Katie Featherstone, reprising her role from the first film and identified here as Christy’s sister, saves the film from complete disaster. The less said about Martine, the stereotyped superstitious Mexican maid, the better: her sole function is to provide patronising comic relief by wafting incense about the house, while rambling incoherently in Spanish about good and bad spirits. Eventually resorting to ‘Blair Witch’-style shaky-cam and ‘night vision’ images, director Tod Williams (‘The Door in the Floor’) fails to generate even a smidgen of terror, despite larding on the manipulative, over-amplified sound effects.