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Jackie K. Cooper

Jackie K. Cooper

Posted: October 26, 2010 11:56 AM

Maybe they did it and I just didn't hear it or read it, but Paramount Pictures should advertise the fact "Paranormal Activity 2" is incomprehensible unless you have seen the original movie. There are so many allusions made to the first film that went right over my head, and so many actions in the second film that make no sense whatsoever. If you haven't seen the first film I would totally advise you not to go see this new one.

In the second film we get introduced to a couple (Brian Boland and Sprague Grayden) who live in a nice house with his teenage daughter (Molly Ephraim) from a previous marriage (I guess) and their brand new baby son. They also have a dog and a housekeeper.

A few days later things begin to go bump in the night. The housekeeper tries using some sort of incense to rid the place of the "bad spirits" but it doesn't seem to work. The mother and her stepdaughter are suspicious of the place being haunted but the father is adamantly non-convinced. He just gets cameras installed around the house for protection.

The mother's sister (Katie Featherston) and her boyfriend (Micah Sloat) are interested at first but then decide not. Things proceed until one night when all hell breaks loose. That is when the audience starts squirming, laughing and screaming.

The movie has some good things going for it. The acting is really good for this type of movie, especially by Sprague Grayden, and the script keeps the tension building. The use of having a baby in jeopardy is a cheap trick but it works. The same can be said of having the dog in danger.

The film is rated R for profanity and violence.

The problem -- the BIG problem -- is the confusion caused by a script that relies on the fact that the audience has seen the previous film. There are millions of potential members of the audience who haven't. And if you haven't seen the first movie then there will be tons of unanswered questions once you finish viewing this second edition.

Director Tod Williams should have had enough insight into the totality of the film to know it wasn't working. You can't leave it up to the audience to fill in the blanks if the first movie answered all the questions. Enough of that film should have been pulled into this one to make it make sense.

All in all this movie has a few mild jolts of suspense and terror but not enough to make it worth your time -- especially when it makes no sense unless you have seen the first film. A warning of that fact would have gone a long way.

I scored Paranormal Activity 2 an incomprehensible 4 out of 10.