I wouldn't say I loved Paranormal Activity. In fact, I kind of despised it. My wrath was more directed at the annoyingness of Micah Sloat however so I realize that perhaps I wasn't as fair to PA as I should have been. Sure, it's fantastic how such a low budget and simple concept can scare people out of their minds but at what cost? I have to sit through an hour and a half of Micah "Douchebag" Sloat to get scared? Pfffft.
Good news for all you Micah Sloat haters though. Paranormal Activity 2 contains minuscule amounts of the man (Although those small amounts did make me grind my teeth viciously) and to make matters so much better---characters are much, much, MUCH more sensible and less douchey and therefore my teeth feel better.
Another thing Paranormal Activity 2 has going for it that makes me appreciate both it and its predecessor, is that it's smart. It's smart because it's turning what could have easily been a one hit wonder into a mysterious and page turning movie experience. Yes page turning...which is something rarely RARELY seen with horror films and their sequels. Think of it. How often do we flock to the movie theater because we yearn to know what happens next? Oh I don't know...never! Paranormal Activity 2 however makes this happen and it does it rather intelligently.
Paranormal Activity's sequel takes place about 2 months before the events in the first film. We follow Katie's family who have recently added a new baby boy to the mix. It's not long before strange things keep happening. The same strange things that we saw before only now they seem more violent. It becomes very clear that the demon is coveting the baby and it will not stop until it gets what it wants.
I will mention here that the scares in Paranormal Activity 2 aren't as surprising as in the first film. Sure they're there but I felt like there was so much more creepy build up in the first film. So many more subtle things and noises that really worked for it. I suppose we're kind of assimilated to the demons shenanigans by now. We know his usual tricks....slowly opening doors, making things fall, but none of the usual coolness seems to happen here. Maybe it's because this new house has carpeted floors so we can't hear the demons thunderous footsteps on the stairs? Who knows. Whatever it was the activity here felt slightly less amplified.
That isn't to say Paranormal Activity 2 lacks any scares at all. On the contrary, Paranormal Activity 2 tends to almost heighten what the first film did not. The levels that the film goes to is still just as surprising as we could ever dream. People do get dragged and people get possessed. The baby even at one gets dragged! The demon is clearly not messing around.
And now for some SPOILER TERRITORY... I will say that it was kind of hilarious how they "solved" their problem. I know I had heard people mention this aspect of the film when it first came out but now seeing it for myself does tend to make it verge on ridiculous. Alright well I suppose it's a good solution in the short run but come on. Bad idea. And also----plot hole? I thought one of the creepier aspects of the first film was that this demon had been following Katie around all her life. This twist however makes you believe that it was really her sister that the demon had been after---due mostly to Katie's rehashing of their childhood. So that made me kind of sour.
Overall though, what an excellent way to deal with a prequel. I absolutely love when sequels are made with care to the original. Obviously this is done here...but as I said earlier it really takes the story to new levels. Yes its using its old tricks but it's developing the story as it does so therefore our interest gets peaked and the film becomes new and interesting. I'm not one for eating my words, but good work Paranormal Activity. I'm very impressed with you and how you are dealing and developing these sequels. Maybe there are other people out there that didn't love the first film but are now really nodding along enthusiastically for the second film--AND for the future. What will happen next?