PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 Review [One of 2010’s Best Horror Movie Surprises]

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Directed by Tod Williams, 2010
Written by Michael R. Perry

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 may just be one of the best  horror movie surprises of the year.  Obviously it is destined to be a hit after the massive success of the first film, which is the kind of movie that even if you hated, you had to admire it.  But who was really expecting it to be a smart, progressive approach to the presentation?  After all, what made the first movie so great was that it wasn’t by a master director of the genre, it was made by a dude for $15,000 in his own house with amateur actors.  It was the entire homemade aspect of it that made its haunted house story so damned effective with audiences the world over, surely a studio’s attempt to franchise the concept would dull the effect, no?

It doesn’t.  It doesn’t dull it one bit.  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 is not only as creepy and effective as Oren Peli’s original film, but it bests the film in almost every regard.  As well a sequel should.

That’s why it’s such a surprise how rock solid the film actually is.  Visually, it’s not very hard to emulate what made the original film such a scary experience, but it is a difficult task to not merely raise the bar in the fright department.  A good sequel needs to both explore and elevate the material the first film introduced, and that is exactly what Tod Williams’ film does.  I won’t say how it does so for risk of spoilers, but I will say that the transition between the two films is inspired and graceful and that if you’ve somehow escaped seeing Peli’s experiment thus far, you’re going to want to see it before you see this one.

Last Week in Horror News: December 6th to the 13th

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Theatrical Trailers and Clips

  • THE CRAZIES – Second trailer.
  • SOLOMON KANE – A cool clip from the movie, which still lacks distribution in the States but since it is a sold, dark fantasy flick, I’m putting it here out of hope.

Studio News and Attachments

  • MIRRORS 2 – The Nick Stahl starring sequel to Alexandre Aja’s dull remake of a dull movie gets a longer plot description and a full cast.
  • SEASON OF THE WITCH – If you like fire and Nicholas Cage’s forehead, then have I got a poster for you!
  • GHOSTBUSTERS 3 – Sigourney Weaver hints that Bill Murray might be playing a ghost this time around…
  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES – Natalie Portman will produce and star in a big screen adaptation of no one’s favorite alternate universe literary classic.
  • VLAD – Summit’s Vlad the Impaler film, written by “SONS OF ANARCHY” and GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS star Charlie Hunnam, will have no hits of vampires in it.
  • HALLOWEEN 3D – The Weinstein Company is scrambling for new ideas to make a movie no one wants into a movie at least one person wants.
  • RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE – Slides from fall 2010 to the second week of 2011.


  • THE WOLFMAN – Emily Blunt says the reason for the shifting WOLFMAN release date has always been driven by special effects deadlines; not because Joe Johnston made a crappy movie.  Speaking of, the flick got an R rating this week.
  • FANTASTIC VOYAGE – The ’60s classic sci-fi flick about shrinking down and going inside the human body joins the growing list of movies James Cameron might tackle next.
  • THE GATE – H.R. Giger will be designing some of the creatures for Alex Winter’s THE GATE 3D.
  • FRIDAY THE 13TH 2 – Unsurprisingly, Platinum Dunes’ proposed sequel to Marcus Nispel’s reboot of F13 has slid from its extremely tentative August 13th, 2010 date to the ambiguous To Be Determined.
  • DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT – Josh Vargas wants to remake S.F. Brownrigg’s film, but with some violent updates.
  • NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – Samuel Bayer’s remake of NOES is currently undergoing some reshoots, presumably after first test screenings weren’t so hot.

Indie, Foreign, and Random News

  • Zombie STAR WARS – Some guy zombiefied Drew Struzan’s original STAR WARS posters.
  • 2010 Slamdance Lineup – The Sundance offshoot that essentially discovered PARANORMAL ACTIVITY has announced its competition slate for next year.
  • Paramount Goes Low-Budget – The massive studio has set up a fund to produce micro-budget films in at attempt to recapture the profit margins of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, which they released earlier this year.
  • PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE SEARCH FOR KATE – Speaking of, PA now has a follow-up comic series.

Non-theatrical Trailers and Clips

  • [REC] 2 – The first 5 minutes of the film are online, and though they are badass, they’re not nearly as awesome as what happens later on in the movie.
  • HALLOWEEN 2 – The alternate ending.
  • RARE EXPORTS – This is what happens when you dig up Santa Claus.
  • CABIN FEVER 2 – There is no reason you should be looking forward to this movie.
  • 13 HRS. – The producers of DOG SOLDIERS would like to show you their new werewolf movie.

Last Week in Horror News: 9/13-9/20

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Theatrical Trailers and Clips

Studio News and Attachments

  • HEREAFTER – Matt Damon will star in Clint Eastwood’s next directorial outing, a supernatural thriller produced by DreamWorks.
  • SILENT HILL 2 – Roger Avary and producer Samuel Hadida will be returning to the franchise.  No director or cast yet, but the sequel will film in 2010 to when production on RESIDENT EVIL 4 ends.
  • JENNIFER’S BODY – Not too hot at the box office.  Whodathunk?
  • THE PASSAGE – GLADIATOR scribe John Logan will be doing multi-million dollar adapting duties on an unpublished vampire novel for Ridley Scott to potentially direct.


  • HALLOWEEN 3D – Dread Central confirms that MBV3D and DRACULA 2000 director Patrick Lussier will be taking over the reigns on the first film in the franchise to be 3D.
  • NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – Is getting a pseduo-remake in the form of a 3D CGI prequel called NOTLD: ORIGINS, to be directed by the guy who did the remake of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS.

Indie, Foreign and Random News

  • DEATH ISLAND – Tom Savini finally heads back to the director’s chair for ‘fresh take on the undead genre’.
  • Ronnie Yu – FREDDY VS JASON director Ronnie Yu wants to direct a story about werewolves who run a bank in the Outback of Australia.  And if that isn’t sitcom awesome enough already, the bank is then robbed by vampires.
  • Clive Barker’s SEDUTH – Barker’s newest comic will be published in 3D.

Non-Theatrical Trailers and Clips

  • GROWTH – If the sub-cutaneous vine crawling of THE RUINS bothered you, do not watch this trailer.
  • NEVER SLEEP AGAIN – Trailer for the upcoming NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET documentary.

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