Plot: After a break-in, Daniel (Brian Boland) has a network of cameras and motion detectors installed in his home. The crime was a strange one, as the house was ransacked and tossed, but nothing of value was taken. But with all the cameras and security now in place, the family should be well protected. Daniel’s wife Kristi (Sprague Grayden), his daughter from another relationship Ali (Molly Ephraim), and young son Hunter also live in the home, not to mention their faithful canine companion. Things seem to be back to normal, with no further incidents and Kristi’s sister Katie (Katie Featherstone) even visits to spend time with her nephew. But soon, the cameras capture some odd noises and some strange things happen, such as the pool cleaner being out of the pool and pans falling from the hooks. Ali is ecstatic, as she hopes a ghost is involved, but the family’s cleaning lady is convinced dark spirits are present. But it is just some odd coincidences or is there some kind of presence in the house?
Entertainment Value: A sequel to Paranormal Activity was inevitable and while this one loses a lot of the “this could be real” minimalism of the original, it does offer the same kind of experience. This movie opts to add more to the lore behind the demonic presence, giving more insight into how the events of the first movie unfolded, which is kind of cool. The events in this sequel take place before the original, so Katie and Micah are present at times, which is fun for fans. I appreciated the added attention to the demon, with Ali doing research into the subject and the housekeeper providing an interesting outside perspective. But the core of Paranormal Activity 2 remains the same, found footage that slowly escalates noises and supernatural encounters, but this time, we have a child and a dog involved. So if you were scared in the first movie, imagine a baby and a dog in harm’s way, cheap, but effective tactics. I do think a lot of the grounded feel is gone here but if you enjoyed the original, there is more of the same here. And having more of the lore is always nice, though it comes at the expense of the raw, in the moment style of the first movie. This movie isn’t likely to win over those who don’t appreciate found footage, but fans of the genre and the series will find enough to like here to make it worthwhile.
No nakedness. No blood. As with the original, the mood and sense of dread fuel the potential eerieness, with almost no on screen violence. The scene with the baby and the dog can be quite tense, however. So the attempts at realism have been toned down, but the movie still relies on the minimalist approach to the scares. This is once again sure to divide viewers, with some appreciating the less is more style, while others will find it contrived and lazy. But if you’re a fan of found footage, then you likely don’t mind the minimalist nature here. The dialogue provides some humor at times and unlike the first movie, we have a likable character present. Ali is a fun, enjoyable character that brings a lot to the movie, unlike her parents, who come off as stiff and unlikable. So it was nice to have a character I wanted to see survive, if nothing else. The lines offer some minor drama and dysfunction, but not much. As for craziness, this never veers from the tropes of the genre and as such, never feels that wild.
Overall Insanity: 0/10