Before Katie and Micah there was Daniel (Brian Boland) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) which is what this movie is. In Paranormal Activity we see Katie and Micah deal with a tricky little ghost, but the story behind that story is what’s here in the second movie which is the prequel to the original.
I have to say that I didn’t see Paranormal Activity in theatres, but I caught up with it before checking in with the prequel and I walked in with pretty much fresh eyes since I have to say I had absolutely no intention of ever seeing any of these movies. I tried with the first film hit DVD last year to watch it but it took so long to get around to the point that I threw the DVD across the room and gave up after the door moved 2 inches at about the 30 minute mark. However, I’m happy that I took the time to go through these two films. This is quite possibly two of the creepiest ghost films of the last decade. It takes the horror genre back to mood setting which is what a lot of the classic films did as opposed to the current trend of making a ‘kill of the week’ film.
The second instalment of the story is so well structured into the canon that is Paranormal Activity that I can’t help but be massively pleased. The film found a way of not only explaining why this film is a lot faster and more vicious than the original in the narrative that I just want to applaud all the writers of the film. They took the entire concept of the first film and encapsulated into a whole new story which didn’t feel like it was just rehashing all the same scares from the first movie, but rather explaining it and while keeping the same creepy unintentionally caught on tape vibe that the original introduced.
This ‘found footage’ style of filmmaking isn’t that new. Everyone my age and older remember the film The Blair Witch Project, which I don’t remember being very good and I refuse to go back and rewatch the movie to check to see how bad it is. However, this film uses the newly installed security cameras to show us what’s going on in the house during a period of three weeks. We see characters go from complete disbelief to denial then eventually to the biggest believers you’d ever imagine which is exactly what the audience does.
What makes the sequel work is that since it is conscious of the fact that we’ve all seen the first film, even though that occurs chronologically after this movie, it still allowed the characters to go through the logical progression of understanding that any main characters would in any film. They get to the point relatively quicker than the first film, while at the same time amply teasing us in the beginning so that every scare that the film gets later is earned. What made the movie work is that even though the movie, as most prequels do, takes all the stakes away by making itself a prologue to what we already know it still manages to make me jump out of my seat with shock with every attempt to outdo its predecessor.
If you liked the original you’re going to love this film, and if you’re being a scared little girl and refusing to watch these movies then get off your ass and get to it.
IMDB says 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes says 61%
I say 8.0/10