Paranormal Activity 2 Review

Published 5 years ago by

paranormal activity 2 review Paranormal Activity 2 Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman Reviews Paranormal Activity 2

The first Paranormal Activity was a seemingly simple little movie made for $11,000, and then by some miracle spared a big budget remake and released a year ago as made (with a slight change to the original ending). It was one of those movies that people either “got” and loved, or didn’t, and hated.

It went on to make almost $200 million worldwide.

Go figure.

As you can imagine, Paramount (which distributed the first film with a clever “Demand It” viral campaign) figured this was ripe for a sequel – and much like the Saw franchise (actually it’s the only thing it has in common with that series of films) they cranked a second film out for release a year after the first.

So there are a a couple of questions:

  1. Is this one as good as, better than, or worse than the first?
  2. Will your enjoyment of this one depend on how you felt about the first one?

To the first question I will say that I believe this film is better than the first one – a tough thing to pull off considering that the “gimmick” of the first is already known. To the second I’ll say that even if you weren’t a fan of the first one, you might still like this second film.

If you thought that this film will be completely disconnected from the first, you’d be wrong – it’s actually (kind of) a prequel (mostly), and ties into and dovetails with the last film quite nicely. It starts out two months before the first film – with Katie’s sister, brother in law, baby nephew and teenage step-niece the focus.

The excuse this time around for the tons of videotaping going on (before anything spooky happens) is the arrival of their newborn son, Hunter. The camcorder is on constantly – including the day they come home to find their home completely trashed. Every room has been essentially turned upside down with everything tossed about – except for Hunter’s bedroom. And nothing has been stolen.

This prompts the installation of a full-on security system, including indoor and outdoor cameras with motion detectors. We soon become very familiar with the point of view of the five cameras placed around the house: One overlooking the pool, two in the kitchen, one in the entryway and one in the baby’s room. These give us not only an anchor (every night we cycle through all five) but also give us a respite from the prospect of an entire film shot in shaky-cam.

As in the first film, nothing really major happens for a long time and the fun/scariness of it is the dread and anticipation of when something will finally happen… and what that something might be. Things start off in a very subtle way, and you’ll find yourself scanning all four corners of the screen in the security camera shots trying to get the jump on whatever may be about to scare you.

As in the first film, the husband is a skeptic – writing off his wife’s descriptions of what happened with rational explanations. Even with the recorded video footage, he writes things off to the wind slamming a door closed, or his wife not placing a pan quite correctly on a kitchen hook, causing it to fall. At first the daughter thinks it would be cool to have a ghost haunting their home, but soon enough she comes to her stepmother’s side and they both have to convince the man of the house they’re not crazy.

Paranormal Activity 2 is a second film that manages to take what made the first film interesting, and expand and intensify it. The constant cycling through the video camera shots every night with nothing happening for the most part is both reassuring and unnerving at the same time. You know eventually you’ll see SOMETHING happen in one of those shots every time the cycle starts – and you get to a point where you’re feeling a combination of being a bit bored… but relieved that nothing happened.

For me, the very things that people didn’t like about the first one (and might not like about this one) are things that are a plus: The use of suspense and dread instead of gore and cheap jump scares (there’s not a cat to jump into the shot and screech anywhere to be seen). The fact that it’s actually scarier to imagine what might be behind a door than to actually be shown it. The lack of manipulative music, “cool” editing techniques, etc. The reality-based look and approach to the whole thing just makes it hit that much closer to home – and when I say “home” I mean it. Late at night, alone, only one light on. This movie, like the first one, sticks with you in those late moments just before you get ready to turn in.

Director Tod Williams and writer Michael R. Perry (with input from Oren Peli, the fellow who wrote, directed and produced the first one) had a heck of a job ahead of them trying to do a follow up to a seemingly one-shot film like Paranormal Activity – but I think they did a fine job of it. The actors are believable and there are actually quite a few moments of laugh out loud humor from the dad/husband, who plays a bit of the comedian in his family (reminded me of myself in that regard).

As with the first, I’m confused at the decision to go for the R rating here. It’s mainly for language, which could have been easily eliminated. I’m not a big fan of PG-13 horror movies or slimming down an R to squeak under the PG-13 bar, but in a film like this where it’s all atmosphere and suspense (with some violence, yes) it seems like they made have made more money by not going the R route. Maybe they were shooting for that R rating horror movie “street cred?”

There are probably a good half-dozen real scares in the movie, and if I have one complaint it’s that overall it feels like an interesting journey that doesn’t end up anywhere… interesting. Most of the film goes by before it really kicks into gear, and then it’s over pretty quickly. If we were on a 10 scale here I’d probably have gone 7.5/10.

In the end, it delivers dread, makes you nervous and scares you, and what more can you ask from a horror movie? Too bad that it really leaves you wanting more when the credits start to roll.

Here’s the trailer for Paranormal Activity 2:

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If you want to talk about details of the film without worrying about spoiling it for others, head on over to our Paranormal Activity 2 spoilers discussion.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

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  1. i think this movie will be good i haven’t watched it but plan on watching it i really liked the first one so i think i’ll like this one better

    • you sure will nicole – it will explain why Katie was possessed.

  2. i kind of figured there had to be a deeper reason as to why she was possessed and i was hoping there would be another one… so if you watched the first and someone you know hasn’t like my husband hasn’t but i have and he doesn’t want to because he says it looks so fake but he’s willing to go with me to the second do you think he will pick up on the storyline easily?

    p.s. our house has a ghost in it :) she’s amazing

  3. Ours had killed herself but my motherinlaw whom we live with knows this ghost and she looks over us she doesn’t mess with us but if there’s someone that looks to hurt any of us or angers our mom she will defend.

    We believe she even saved my husband from getting his eye sliced open it was around his eye had it been one millimeter over it woulda taken his eye… and there’s other instances he came out of it when he shouldn’t have…

    we believe in her and for that she rewards us. she’s amazing i think her name is leah but she won’t go to the light because she swore to watch over our mom

  4. nicole, better rent the first movie before seeing PA 2.
    You have a ghost cool – so what is it like – i used to have ghosts
    but i told them to go towards the light and they are gone now. My dead
    granny is with me constantly.

  5. I dunno if she really has anything to do with anything but i’ve saw her and she’s beautiful you can see an apparition for a short period then you see a shadow she’ll stand in the other room and watch us as she passes to the next room it’s so amazing. My husband said he thought he saw another ghost one night but he wasn’t sure. He said it was a man and that the man didn’t look friendly we’re going to investigate it soon enough about the history and all that. I’ll keep you up to date though :D

  6. have you heard about that place in germany that’s haunted. they say if you stay in it alone for 24 hours you get one million dollars but no one has succeeded, they have all came up missing. do you think the entities that inhabit that mansion or whatever are demons or ghosts, or is it a combination of the two?

    is a ouiji board really dangerous?

  7. Saw the movie last night & I think the above review hits it 100% on the head. I thought they set up everything perfectly, but I did find myself bored at times. And as it says above, most of the movie went by before anything kicks into gear. I was definitely left wanting more, but not in the way where I want a movie to continue, but rather I felt a bit disappointed…something I did not feel after watching the first Paranormal Activity.

    • ok nicole would love to answer all your questions but i doubt the rest of
      the people here are gonna enjoy my comments. Email me and leave me your
      email in the answer. I can get back to you personally. Yes Ouija boards are dangerous so are voodoo dolls. Yes I heard of that haunted place and
      apparently its built on an ancient burial ground hence lots of ghosts to
      drive you nuts…………

    • yaz

      ya think? There better not be a 3rd because it would really be a crock.
      Unless they dig up the past and how the grandmother make a pact with the
      demons bla bla bla. Its making money leave it at that.

  8. Great Movie, Very worth going to see it. Everybody complains that it is to slow but that is one of the things that makes the movie as good as it is. You dont need things popping out and crazy stuff happening all of the time. Its like your actually settling into the everyday life of the family on screen and it builds you up slowly to create a comfort level. It makes everything more realistic than just having the movie start with a full panic. You start off as a happy family, you get to see the everyday life that they live, days go by and everyday it seems like the same junk and as the day before (Just like the live’s most of us live), maybe here and there something weird happens, a loud noise happens, something is moved and so on, you think that maybe u didnt secure an item or that somebody else has moved the item and think nothing of it (Again just like most of us live). If you see where im coming from and really get into what its trying to do its great. It just relates so much to what goes on in a daily home of the normal family. Yes again it does it for a good bit but it all builds up and gets you into the role. As the days go on it gets scarier and the “Activity” builds and builds. Nothing crazy, just little things that give you a chill or two. Then as you sit there in the theatre, your in a very settled comfort level, it hits you, scares the crap outta you (I think whoever has seen it knows what part im talking about) and all of the anticipation and settling into that comfort level has paid off and from then on the movie is what everybody wants it to be. I personally think that the movie wouldnt be as effective if you werent settled down and that you constantly knew things were going to happens everytime the security camera’s switched. I wont say any parts of the movie and i will say the ending was very good.

  9. In a nutshell, Paranormal Activity 2, although having the catchy and overused slamming of doors, satanic envisions of demons ruining perfectly good kitchen appliances, and it being perfect for 14 year to scream like bloody murder everytime a frying pan fell, it was poor excuse for a “horror” movie. I think maybe if half the movie didn’t consist of what sounded like kids outside with their subwoofers booming and demon squirrels running around in the basement, that it might of had the possibility of being somewhat decent. I mean… Why the crap would the daughter ask her dad if she could video tape him looking at the surveillance video? Why did he take the camera downstairs? Grab a flashlight? This movie kind of made laugh rather then scare me off my seat.

    • 14 year olds*

  10. Hey laurie i was wondering.. put urself in para 2 situation , what would u have done? i mean how can anyone really get out of a situation like oweing a demon? i’ve certainly never ever touch or even think about things like ouija boards or inviting spirits in cause thats just silly now.. i’m jus curious n interested to know how to fend off such situations

      • tn

        all i know if i was in PA 2 – it would be impossible to get out of that
        situation because once a deal with the demon has been made – good luck
        reversing it – you think the MOB is rough stuff – try demons lolllllllll

  11. that’s a good question ^^^^^ I like that one and personally this movie isn’t really supposed to be a horror film i believe it is supposed to be a suspense rather because it makes you wait then it punches you in the face with the whole insanity :D

    • I would consider myself a kind of “adrenaline junky”, and I love doing all sorts of activities that get my blood flowing. Thus, my friends and I went to the midnight showing of the new release, Paranormal Activity 2. I had to drag one of my friends to the theater because she was so scared, but clearly I was not going to see it alone. I would describe this film as more of a “jumpy” kind of scary, rather than something that is constantly terrifying. There were moments in the film when you expected something to happen, and it would build you up like so, but then nothing would. Well, until the next scene. You never knew what to expect.
      However, at points I felt it got a tad unrealistic, which made is less frightening for me. Such as, when the baby is being lifted out of the crib by an invisible “paranormal force” some people started freaking out, but this sight just kind of bothered me because it lingered on the fence of being realistic in my opinion. Other than that I enjoyed it. Also, I thought it was clever how the second and first movies were connected, I think that made for a much more interesting story. Overall, I got my fair share of scares during the film, but fortunately did not have any trouble sleeping that night. I would recommend it for anyone with any interest in the possibility of ghosts, demons or spirits. Personally, I think if you are a believer I think it makes it a lot scareier.

      • Nice job

    • I guess I don’t get it. Other than a couple good jolts (all the kitchen cabinets flying open at once), I found the whole thing rather boring and a waste of my time. The popcorn was good, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

      • So not knowing WHEN something was going to happen or what it might be, exactly didn’t get to you at all?


      • LMAO the 1st one sucked so bad i didnt waste my time with this one

    • When the reviewer says “dread”, does this mean “boredom”. I though the first one was one of the most boring films I’ve watched in a longtime. The same moronic premise from the blair withc project of carrying a video camera everywhere, when you’re screaming, put it down.
      As in the Blair Witch project, the acting is so poor and the characters so wooden that the only reason to watch is in the hope of “death by demon”.
      Bored bored bored. I prefer a horros that has suspense rather than in-your-face-gore, but watching the the 10 oclock news is scarier.
      Would I watch the 2nd? You’ve got to be kidding, I’m unable to get the 88 minutes of my life back from the first.

  12. Ok Laurie and Nicole I’m just going to say this, you are insane. I am a man of science and only believe in tangible evidence to support my beliefs, not “sightings” and “rumors.” People like you cause a lot of confusion in this world and your ignorance spreads like a virus. You can label the educated “nonbelievers” all you want, but it wont change the fact that your opinions about the paranormal and unexplained amount to nothing and are irrelevant. There are real things happening in this world. There is poverty across the globe, there is tribal genocide in Africa, and as a race we are consuming our natural resources at an alarming rate. Please do not blame mental illness and odd behavior in children on demonic possession, as that is a 17th century explanation when we had made hardly any advances in medical and behavioral research. I ask you to reform your mindset and stop spreading this BS; for the love of GOD! (not that he exists either, just an expression!)

    • Anthony,

      I’m not saying I subscribe to the conversation you’re referring to, but if there’s anything that bugs me it’s the hubris of the atheist. I would think at the most, one could be an agnostic, for being an atheist indicates one KNOWS that God does not exist, implying the person knows everything that exists or ever will exist in every corner of the universe. In other words to say unequivocally that there is no God means one is claiming to be God (IMHO of course).


      • Vic, I sort of agree with you on this. I would probably consider myself to be agnostic. I would love some sort of proof that there is a higher power. Just my opinion, but to me the evidence clearly points to evolution but at the same time I won’t rule out the possibility that there might be something beyond our understanding. I believe that everyone is more than entitled to their opinions and beliefs. I don’t force mine on anyone and I expect everyone to do the same to me. There is far too much ignorance in the world and I think religious beliefs fuel a lot of it. Being a gay man I certainly don’t appreciate being told i’m going to hell and living in sin. I know this whole thread has gone way off topic but I just wanted to throw that out there. We all need to find a common ground to stand on.

        • joseph, you are not going to hell and you are not living in sin trust me. There is no hell after death and all our sins are committed here. Hell is here on earth – more for some than others but its here – to say you are going to hell means you are coming back
          on earth and live again (not your choice) – rather than choose to stay where you go after death.

        • Joseph,

          Ah – the sort of person I can have a conversation like this with (even though this isn’t the right venue). :)

          Nice to be able to have a bit of a reasoned back and forth on a topic like this.



      • er, not buying that all. I certainly don’t claim to know everything and it certainly is not logical to say that because i know god does not exist that i am omniscient.
        I know that bugs bunny doesn’t exist, but would you assume my omniscience for stating the obvious?
        God is as much a fictional character as bugs bunny or the Easter bunny. It behooves believers to prove the existence of their god, not for non-believers to prove otherwise.

        • “God is as much a fictional character as bugs bunny or the Easter bunny.”

          Yes, thanks for proving my point when it comes to why believers often get bent out of shape when talking to atheists. Arrogance and condescension always go over well.

          Best regards,


          • If believers get “bent out of shape” whilst percieving arrogance or condescension on the part of an atheist…then they will just have to forgive them.
            For my part, I find a good dose of condescension can often be quite startling to the recipient and quite humourous to the giver.
            It’s why I find comedians comedic.

            Likewise best regards,


            • You must be fun at parties. 8)


              • So I’m told. :-)
                I tend to avoid a party if there are religious/overtly conservative types in attendence…I have a habit of asking them what they are doing with a rolled up $20 bill!
                I tend to drink, dance and laugh a lot ata party…i’m told that this is a good way to experience them…


          • I´m an atheist myself, but even for me it´s hard to believe that life is over when it´s over.

            But I actually enjoyed the first PA, as well as I did enjoy the sequel. And *SPOILER ALERT* , seeing the people from the first film in the “sequel”, talking about the things that have happened (excuse my bad english, I´m german) before, that really got me excited. It gave me goosebumps. These (PA 1 + 2) movies were the first ghost movies that got me kinda frightened since I saw the Poltergeist movies as a kid. And these movies were masterpieces… And I think, when it comes to frighten people, PA 1 + 2 are right behind Poltergeist I-III…

        • no disrespect intended but while nobody believes in Bug Bunny and no one will be offended by you saying he is fictional God is another story… I don’t quite know if I am christian as i am 16 years old and still forming my opinion on the matter, however I am studying quite a few religions at the moment and while the one thing they all have in common is the requirement to believe without proof they all bring a deeper meaning to life and for some people faith is all they have left when everything else is taken away. That being said i do believe that religions as a whole result in most of our differences as a race, but I would encourage you, with all due respect, to refrain from insulting any one religion or belief or all of them as a whole because many people people with their whole heart and “soul” (if such a thing exists) that their religion is right and they shape their lives accordingly. Once again this was not intended to be disrespectful and I am in no way offended by your opinion as it is your opinion and you are every bit as entitled to it as I am entitled to my own.
          Thank you,

    • Anthony – a man of science – what are you doing on this screenrant site
      anyway. Stick to what you know best.

      • laurie,

        You know what? It seems to me you’re a Christian woman – so how about showing a little grace?



    • There are some things that cannot be explain in science. Things that cannot be seen by any type of apparatus just to prove that this type of thing exist. 17th century? explanation? ask yourself some data’s might be done well off enough to all people so they believe or done with so much lies that
      people think its well true enough. I’ts just base of your theory and theory that you read on the books, you haven’t born in 17th century how come you believe on those kind of explanations. If you really believe that this kind of things don’t exist in this world how come you have soul.

  13. The movie was scary point blank!

  14. Laurie- I just saw the movie last night and was curious as to what other people would think about it. I for one, thought that it was fairly well done. And when I said “man of science”, I wasn’t implying that I had all the answers, I’m not even out of high school, I just would prefer a logical approach to what we call truth. I couldn’t care less about anyone’s personal beliefs and I may have come off a little harsh in the last post, I would just appreciate it if those beliefs did not get in the way of progress. For example, diagnosing a child with odd behavior as being possessed would certainly hinder a true medical diagnosis and treatment. For all that I know, hell and heaven could very well exist, and whether or not they are hear on earth or in the afterlife is not for me to say. I do know, however, that due to my childhood fascination with the paranormal I have performed extensive research and all my efforts have pointed to one thing; we cannot yet draw a conclusion about what is beyond us. Our universe is governed by certain laws, and based on what we know about these laws, the afterlife is an eternity of nothingness and unconsciousness; the equivalent to the time prior to birth… just nothing. It is hard for humans to get our minds around the concept of nothing, and deep down, a fairyland of heaven and hell is much more comforting. And yet, as I progress further and further through my AP Biology course that I’m taking, I learn more and more about the grand design of life and just how remarkably complex the eukaryotic cell truly is. It makes me wonder whether the design was influenced by divinity, and from time to time I find myself questioning if such a body would have a plan for human consciousness after death. Of course, the specific compilation of neurons that comprise our brain matter, and define who we are, would be dead and rotting, so it is difficult to say whether our consciousness can be captured and transported…. I suggest you read Stephen Hawking’s new book called “The Grand Design.” It is an amazing piece of literature, filled with profound and mind jarring statements about the universe, and the probability of there being multiple and infinite universes each governed by a unique set of laws. Very interesting indeed! And yet, still speculation. WAY OFF TOPIC a little deep for a movie review SORRY! Pretty Good movie all things considered!

  15. Anthony- That was a little off topic but very interesting to read! You just put a LOT of stuff in perspective for me ! I also thought it was a descent movie.

  16. One last comment I will make on this site -build a house on an ancient
    burial ground and trust me poltergeists are possible. Dont play with
    forces science knows nothing about. Not everything has a logical explanation.

  17. I watched this movie this past weekend and it was not my cup of tea. I really didn’t like the movies at all, mainly because of the lack of a story line. The whole movie is shown either through a cam corder that the family ALWAYS seems to be carrying around or either through their security cameras in their home. The scary parts were not that scary and kinda corny. I would’nt recommend this movie to anyone! Save your money and choose a different movie, cause this one will leave you wondering why you wasted your time and money watching it!

  18. I’m completely amazed to see all the positive reviews about this movie. It was no where near what the first one was. The first one I actually watched a couple of times, you couldn’t pay me to sit in front of this one. Over an hour of pointless camera shots of random parts of the house with nothing happening at all. I was waiting for something to happen, but it didn’t. That’s not scary, or unnerving it was boring. Topped with a know it all 15 year old ‘that, like, knew better than like her parents because of like her amazing amount of like life experience’ Don’t believe the hype, don’t waste your money, or time.

  19. I can’t believe they made such a great movie in less than 10 months.
    Although I still prefer the first, this was a rare and satisfying prequel (it WAS a prequel).

    The actors were extremely good, the scares were just as affecting as the original and to this I say bravo.

    I think it matters how you see this type of movie. My friends saw it all together and hated it, as it was “borng” and “hilarious”. Perhaps they were just covering their fear.
    I saw both films ALONE and in an EMPTY CINEMA – purposely – and it took it to a new level of horror.

    If there’s ever a PA3, see it alone. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it so much more.

  20. “And nothing has been stolen.”

    Except for a necklace…

  21. it was very scary.
    i had to leave cinema at the half of the film just because i was really scared. lol overall it is a good film for those who has good nerves lol :))))))))))))))))))))

  22. oh yeah and this movie was bomb

  23. (sorry if i said the same as someone else) If you look in the mirror the baby is there but in the cot there is no baby! lol

  24. like we are created out of matter, during the evulution, before the creation of mankind, there is a possabiliti that life was created out of LIGHT and out of FIRE.,,..,so that is what most religion tell us.,.,at least (islam does).,.,so creatures we can not see..,.,

  25. After seeing the first i thought i’d check this out,

    Again there was 20mins of rambling talk with head ache causing camera shaking and crackling but after the security cameras went up i enjoyed this movie plenty, I was glued to it till the end which sadly came.

    The only thing i didnt like was the usual foreign cast member who ALWAYS has that gift to sense witches/ghosts who you might remember.

    overall 8/10 compared to the first i’d give 6/10

  26. Highlander/Alex – You do not find comedians ‘comedic’, you find them comic.

  27. So I FINALLY WATCHED IT… the ending sucked but i liked the movie :) a lot more action than the first one but it seemed like once it got going it was was like a wam bam thank ya for coming movie…. but i did enjoy it :)

  28. this was the worst possible movie on the planet. it was sooo incredibly boring. when i went to see it the entire cinma was packed and within half an hour half had wa;led out, and the rest had begun talking with each other. no one was actually paying a ny attention to the movie. it was torture.