x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Paranormal Activity 2

The horror is a scary prequel to the original.

Paranormal Activity 2 is a prequel to the original. Courtesy Sony
Paranormal Activity 2 is a prequel to the original. Courtesy Sony

Paranormal Activity 2 

***
Director: Tod Williams
Starring: Brian Boland, Sprague Grayden, Katie Featherston

 

Time to lock those doors again: it's the oh-so-inevitable sequel to last year's out-of-nowhere hit Paranormal Activity. But credit to the producers, for this is no Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, the last time Hollywood attempted to cash-in on a no-budget horror phenomenon. Of course, it'd be impossible to replicate the same made-under-the-radar manner of Oren Peli's 2009 original. But the backer Paramount has done its best, wisely keeping cast and plot top secret. So much so, it's surprising to discover that Paranormal Activity 2 is more prequel than sequel. Beginning a few of months before the events of the first film, we join suburban couple Daniel and Kristi (Boland, Grayden), and their two children. The neat conceit is that Kristi is sister to Katie (Featherston), the victim of the original, who we see casually drop by a couple of times. But it's with this family we stay, as a malevolent presence gradually makes itself felt. Naturally, the novelty that made Peli's film so effective is long gone - and to compensate, the incoming director Tod Williams clearly has a higher special-effects budget. But, thankfully, he exercises a modicum of restraint. Unlike most sequels, this isn't about throwing money at the screen. With much of the action shot via security cameras, Paranormal Activity 2 sticks to the lo-tech formula of its predecessor and remains the better for it. And the scares? They're sharp, sudden and - by the end - unrelenting.