Directed by Tod Williams, the sequel to ‘Paranormal Activity’ provides a back-story for the original as well as being an effective horror film in its own right, following occurrences between August and October 12th 2006, when Hunter Rey is one year old.
The use of a hand-held video camera to tell the story harks back to the prequel (wherein the characters used a home-video camera set up in their bedroom to monitor supernatural nocturnal disturbances in the room), but the concept has expanded to include CCTV cameras throughout the home of the unfortunate Reys, supposedly for security reasons after what looked like a break-in, but actually to allow the audience the view of as many of the ghostly activities as possible.
The use of CCTV cameras as opposed to normal cameras created a sense of realism lacked by most horror films, as there was clearly no camera crew following the cast around – it felt like a true story. As used in the original film, the fast-forwarding through CCTV footage to find the moments where things happen is highly effective, creating tension the moment the digital clock ever-present in the corner of the screen begins to return to normal speed.
At one point in the film scratching in a surface – the daughter of the house claims this spells something to a handheld camera, but it’s not obvious what it’s actually meant to say, which rather detracts from the overall effect. Also, there were a couple of continuity errors with regards to a chopping board vanishing between CCTV shots and then reappearing, and also a mug, neither of which seem intended to be supernaturally influenced and are simply mistakes on part of the filmmakers. However, this continuity flaw is minor and unlikely to be noticed by most filmgoers.
I would recommend this as a good introduction to horror films or as a light horror film for those who are used to the genre – the plot is easy to follow even without having seen ‘Paranormal Activity’, gore is exceedingly limited, with most of the scary moments shock rather than truly fear-instilling, barring moments of possession. Certainly this would appeal to someone who had seen the first film.