Paranormal Activity 2 builds on the enormous success of its predecessor, a fictional documentary of a young couple's experience with some unhappy paranormal entity (demon, spirit, ghost - you fill in the blank). The first movie followed Katie, her husband Micah and her San Diego home as they slowly come under the power of this evil force. Paranormal Activity 2 follows Katie's sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), her husband, Daniel (Brian Boland), teenage daughter Ali (Molly Ephraim), and toddler Hunter as a similar (or possibly the same) force invades their San Diego home. The movie follows a similar pattern to its predecessor - unnatural and unexplained events start occuring in their home and slowly build in intensity until they climax in tragedy at the end. While Daniel continues to insist that there are natural forces behind all the strange things that happen until almost the end of the movie, his wife and daughter are clued in early to the danger they face as their Latina nanny tries to employ folk remedies to drive away the evil spirits. Much of the video is from security footage captured by a company Daniel hires after some paranormal activity takes place, activity he believes to be a break-in. As the events grow in severity, Kristi eventually comes under the spell of the evil spirit and goes catatonic. But the audience is surprised to find that Katie turns out to be the real threat.
This movie reminds me of many of my favorite sports teams who have all kinds of potential but spend the entire season missing opportunities. The first movie was terrifying and spellbinding (no pun intended). This movie featured lots of sudden loud noises and some scared people toward the end, but the viewer who has seen the first movie spends most of this one waiting for something interesting to happen. The nanny is not half as interesting of a character as the consultant that Katie and her husband hire in the first movie. The audience is suppsed to be concerned that the pool cleaner keeps ending up on the deck next to the pool, but who cares? The ending was violent, but cinematically weak. I imagined myself sitting down in one afternoon and coming up with three or four ideas of what they could have done to make this movie more effective. And I'm no expert. Maybe they should hire one before they make Paranormal Activity 3. I give it 2.4 out of 5 stars.