The first time I heard that there would be a sequel to Paranormal Activity I was psyched. The original was so unique and effective that I could only wonder what Oren Peli had in store for us next. Peli is the writer/director of the original and the producer of the sequel. Michael R. Perry wrote the screenplay and story this time around. Perry has a long resume of work that he has done on popular television series such as Law and Order: SVU. I assumed PA2 was also directed by Oren Peli given the style of film making, but I was surprised to learn that Tod “Kip” Williams took over this time around. Williams directed The Door in the Floor, which won the National Board of Review Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. Williams did a wonderful job taking over Peli’s role as director, though you could notice Peli’s influence. Overall, the crew did a fabulous job capturing the essence of the original.
The original was made on a very small budget of $15,000 with actors Micah Sloat and Katy Featherstone making just few hundred dollars for their work. Paramount Pictures bought the rights to the sequels for a total of $300,000. They certainly knew what they were doing when they made this reasonably priced investment. The budget for Paranormal Activity 2 was much higher at $3 million but we all know Paramount has that kind of money. They made more than their share in return. Paranormal Activity 2 broke the record for making the most money at the box office for an R rated movie with a midnight release at $6.3 million and made a whopping $41.5 million its fist weekend in theaters. So far, the film has made a gross of over $63 million.
Paranormal Activity was one of the few horror films to take on documentary-style directing but they certainly mastered the technique much better than say the crew of The Blair Witch Project. In fact, this movie was so much better than that anyway that it actually bugs me to use them both in same sentence. The picture quality is great and the camera moves more steadily than in other films of the same style. The whole concept of watching this “live” footage makes each scene that much more believable and twice as scary.
I had an idea of how they could create a sequel out of the first, though I had my doubts about it being convincing. I’m glad I didn’t read up on PA2 before watching it because I didn’t know it was going to be a prequel- what a pleasant surprise! Everything that was explained made perfect sense and the pieces of the puzzle fit together so perfectly it’s almost as if PA2 was actually written before the original. They also left plenty of room at the end for many more hits to come. I haven’t seen a sequel work as well as this one probably since Aliens.
So, was it scary? It takes a lot to scare a horror fanatic like me but I must say they did a great job. I caught myself watching the movie with one eye open at one point. I’ve had paranormal experiences in my own house in the past so some of the smaller events that happened in the movie reminded me of home. The thoughts that run through your mind at night after watching the Paranormal Activity movies are the scariest part of the whole experience. You’re more in tune to every noise you hear in the house and may want to leave the lights on when you go to sleep!
Will there be a third part to Paranormal Activity? You bet there will. There’s no way there couldn’t be the way they left us begging for more at the end of PA2. Drew McWeeny of HitFlix told the press, “‘Paranormal Activity 2′ is as stark, as bleak, and as skilled as any horror film I’ve seen this year, and suggests this is a series we’re going to be watching for a while”. Paramount Exec VP of Distribution Don Harris claims, “The company is certainly going to take a look at making a third but will be exceedingly careful in how to go about it”. Peli declines to comment on whether or not he has intentions of making a third Paranormal Activity, but then again he is not one to talk about his films until they are released.
By: Francis David