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PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, 2010
Plot unknown -- a sequel to Oren Peli's no-budget blockbuster, in which a couple became increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence in their new home. Paramount sticks it to Lionsgate by positioning their bigger-budget sequel up against Saw VI and swiping Kevin Gruetert, who directed the most recent (and most unsuccessful) installment of the Jigsaw saga.
Release Date: 29 October 2010
Wow! They really cheated A LOT in this movie. The original concept in the first movie was of a couple videotaping the strange occurrences in their home. So they set up cameras, plus the guy had a hand-held camera where he documented the events that occurred. Great setup for a film without a budget.
The first film was suspenseful in two ways:
#1) the guy videotaping was seeing what we were seeing so as an audience member we were terrified because the guy was witnessing this at the same time we were. And it was almost like we were in that house too.
And #2) The complete opposite of #1 as the other cameras were set up in that voyeuristic way as we also got to watch the suspense like we were that fly on the wall in the room.
Two polarizing ways to show drama in a combination. And it really worked. Which is why the film did so well. Which leads us to the sequel just one year later.
In the sequel, itís the same concept BUT a lot of the emotional reactions that are being played donít make any sense because the person is not videotaping things with the camera BUT they are showing us shots that say that they are. So they are manipulating and cheating their original concept in order to get the best emotional deliveries from the performances. Why did they do this?
Thereís a sense that sets up the 3rd act of the two sisters sitting at the pool taking about the past. They obviously arenít videotaping anything during this very emotional scene between the two (no rationale human being would be), but there is a camera shooting this exchange. Who is shooting it? The paranormal activity bad guy? It must be him because it wasnít the sister doing it.
Why would they cheat their own film?
Another interesting thing that happened in this film was the 30 second fade to black before the closing credits went up sequence. They probably did it to gear us audience members back to reality because they felt most of us forgot that we were watching a fiction movie. Do they really think weíre that simple? I guess so. Perhaps we are.
Paranormal Activity is the continuation of the one trick pony gadget concept films. Most of these films are fads and never to be seen or heard from again. Things that have engaged the nation but didnít have a large shelve life. Examples of the past fads are The Blair Witch Project, the Whoís Wants to be a Millionaire game show, and many one hit wonder bands.
Paranormal Activity 2 is a movie thatís attempting at trying to be a trend. A trend is something that was a fad in its beginning stages and then turned into something even bigger. Itís shelf live became longer and larger than most people expected. Examples of a recent fads turned into a trend is the SAW franchise, reality television and MMA fighting.
Every fad tries to be a trend. Itís what they are supposed to do. But most of them fail. Some of the time itís because the world moved on and they arenít interested or ready for more of the same. But most of the time itís because the fad really wasnít that great of an idea in the first place and they got lucky. In sports they call is the sophomore slump. An athlete has a terrific first season and the fans expect more of the same in season two. The problem is that the opposition has figured out all of their faults and they are not talented enough to be on top again.
In my opinion Paranormal Activity is that sophomore slump. Itís more of the same and they donít know how to be better without cheating. This film tried to take steroids to stay on top but they got caught red handed.
But thatís just my opinion. Who knows, perhaps this film can do what the SAW films did. Iíve been wrong many times before.
In my world, these are dangerous films because there are so many filmmakers out there who think that their one great idea will put them over the top. They saw it with this film so they think that they can do the same. So they skimp out on finessing their storytelling skills and get creatively lazy.
Itís an analogy of capitalism. 99 times out of a 100, people become a self-made success by working their butt off and making sure they work that much harder than everyone else. And it usually takes about 10 years to be an overnight success. But those success stories donít make for entertaining tales, so people read about how such and such a person made a million dollars in 6 months (those 1 out of a 100 stories) and they think they can do the same thing too.
Paranormal Activity is the lottery movie for film and filmmakers. 100,000 plus films are made each year by people maxing out their credit cards, selling their soul to the Devil etc..., but only 1 film every 3 years actually gets the success that this film did. And part of it is the skill of having a great idea and executing it properly (which most people canít do), and part of it is luck and being at the right place at the right time. But because of these films many filmmakers think they can also do the same thing. And most of them really should just buy a lottery ticket because theyíll save a whole lot of time and energy.
I hated this film. I really did. But thatís just me. I wish these films would go away but something tells me that weíre just beginning.