After the low budget, found footage, horror phenomenon Paranormal Activity took audiences by storm, a sequel was inevitable. And so that brings us to Paranormal Activity 2 which delivers the same kind of scares and voyeuristic storytelling as the first, but with a unique twist that made this sequel all the more engaging and essentially, just as scary and suspenseful as the first film. After the jump I’ll be venturing into spoiler territory in my review of the Blu-ray release of this horror film, so you’ve been warned.
First of all, it’s important to note that although this is specifically a review of the Blu-ray disc, the usual comments on the stellar picture of high definition Blu-ray transfers and such simply don’t apply because the film is made to look like grainy, security camera footage thus making the presence of high-definition picture basically unnecessary. Where the bonuses of the Blu-ray come into play is in the special features, but we’ll get to those later.
As with any sequel, especially in a horror franchise, it’s hard to live up to the quality of the original. However, I personally found Paranormal Activity 2 to introduce enough new elements into the now familiar found footage narrative, while still staying true to what made the original such a thrilling, and suspenseful viewing experience. Introducing a whole new family complete with children (including a toddler boy) and a dog makes for a much scarier scenario than the young couple from the first film. However, the stakes are raised even further when we learn that this family is actually related to Katie, the woman who becomes possessed by a demonic entity in Paranormal Activity.
It’s this element of the story that makes the sequel even more compelling because sooner than later, we realize that what we’re seeing actually takes place before the events of Paranormal Activity, so the sequel itself is more accurately, actually a prequel. Now the film obviously delivers the same kind of scares as the first with strange sounds, doors opening and closing, and loud bumps in the night, but this kind of terror, which feels more realistic with the found footage angle, seems all the more frightening to me, because it leaves the real horror of the demon to your imagination, and this is easily something that could happen in any one of our houses in the middle of the night.
Eventually, this prequel does become the sequel as it bookends the events of the first film. I won’t get into all the specifics, but suffice it to say that the ending of the first film, leads right into the end of this second film, and there’s no telling where we might venture in Paranormal Activity 3 (though we offered up four possibilities here).
On the whole, Paranormal Activity 2 delivers more of the same from the first film, but the new elements of the sequel/prequel are enough to make it feel fresh. Having a toddler involved with the devious entity in the house just makes you feel that much more uncomfortable and therefore, fairly scared. If the first film had you squirming in your seat, or even jumping and screaming with surprise, there’s plenty of moments that will make you feel right at home in the sequel.
The Blu-ray features both the rated version of the film clocking in at 91 minutes while the unrated version comes in around 98 minutes, but I didn’t take the time to scrutinize the differences between the theatrical cut and the extended cut.
This nearly four minute deleted scene really is a great supplement, and I wish it would’ve made the final cut of the film. It includes a suspenseful scene involving the toddler boy Hunter, and it’s definitely a jarring sequence.
The teaser trailer for the film is also included for those who just like that kind of thing.
DVD and Digital Copy:
Purchasing the Blu-ray of Paranormal Activity 2 will also get you the film on DVD complete with a digital copy of the film, but only the unrated version of the movie.
THE FINAL WORD:
Paranormal Activity 2 is a worthy sequel for those who enjoyed the first film, but buying it on Blu-ray doesn’t seem necessary since a high-definition picture doesn’t do much to enhance the grainy security camera footage presentation of the story, and the special features aren’t really anything to write home about. But if you’re a Blu-ray snob, then you may want to pick it up, just so you get the full package deal complete with a DVD and Digital Copy of the film.