So it is scaaary. No I haven’t misspelled it, it is so scary that it actually needs those extras a’s just to clarify it is in a class all of its own. I don’t know how impartial I can be in terms of reviewing this film because poltergeists and things jumping out at me have always been on my list of things that keep me awake at night. I was a mess after the first film and it kept me up for a good three days. Sleep deprived I managed to convince myself the local cat was following me and told my roommate it was throwing malicious looks my way as if it knew something I didn’t.
Everyone that saw me in the aftermath of Paranormal Activity 1 could not understand why I would want to go and see the follow up film. To answer them, I like to imagine it’s a similar notion to lining up for a rollercoaster ride, every time you go on it scares you but somehow this doesn’t prevent you from going on again. I managed to rope my friend Katrine in to going with me last night but gave her ample warning that I would going to be a pathetic mess and a bit of a liability while I was at the theatre. Strangely she still agreed to go and at 7pm we found ourselves walking down to the Magic Lantern wishing farewell to regular sleep and peace of mind.
As if I needed any help being completely freaked out we walked into the little theatre and noticed the place was pretty empty. Standing ready to great us was a young happy looking fellow who sold us our tickets and laughed brazenly at us as we quipped about our new form of self harm. As we paid for our concessions (yes Katrine decided to buy popcorn for the horror film?) I noticed he double backed around us, and when we walked to towards the screening rooms, there he was waiting to take the tickets he had just sold to us. Having eerie flashbacks to the shinning I wondered if perhaps this gentlemen was going to play every role at the theatre and be every staff member we met and I kept my eye on him as we walked towards theatre number 9.
The theatre was empty when we walked in, which was strange as we hadn’t arrived early. Minutes later the lights dimmed and I wondered how on earth I’d ended up watching a movie that was about to screw with my head in an empty theatre with a job morphing, slightly psycho looking theatre worker as my only reassurance that help was near by. Nevertheless we persevered.
The film lulls you into a lovely sense of calm for the first twenty minutes or so, but immediately informs you that the events you are seeing happen before those shown in Paranormal Activity 1. The characters are introduced immediately starting with footage of baby Hunter fresh from the hospital looking slightly squishy and being welcomed to his new home. His doting parents Kristi and Dan as well as Dan’s daughter from a previous marriage run around the house excited by the new addition to the family. Hunter is introduced to his new nanny Martine and the family dog Abby and all in all you get the sense that this is a very normal, very ‘people next door’ family.
The cameras you see in all the trailers get installed in the house after an apparent break-in at the home, although nothing is actually stolen and it from these monitors that you get to see the rest of the film unfold. The big shocker comes when Kristi’s sister Katie comes over and you realize that this is Katie, as in ‘scary I’m possessed by a demon monster and go missing’ Katie from the first film. I think it was at this point my eyes opened wide enough to swallow my face, it was a great way to tell the audience things were going to be crazy. I won’t say very much more as I wouldn’t want to ruin the film for those that haven’t seen it, but they intertwine the two stories really really well.
The film slowly begins to escalate and the director Tod Williams manages to make every creak and every movement bone tinglingly scary. Slamming doors make your heart want to stop, and Hunters continued concentration on things behind the camera filming him make shivers run up and down your spine like the proverbial blind mice.
There are about three moments where you think you are going to die, like you literally wonder if your heart can take this much stress without just giving up and killing you and I think there was an equal three moments when I asked Katrine to hold my hand. It turns out that being in the theatre alone has its advantages and we were squeaking a squealing without threat of embarrassment or judgement. Of course when I say ‘we’ I mean me, but there were a couple of moments where I think Katrine joined me on the ‘I’m never going to sleep again’ train. The ending is brilliant and unexpected right up until it happens, and at no point did you feel the usual this is all a bit silly feeling that most horror films finish up with.
Trembling we walked out the theatre but it wasn’t long until I regained some composure. The film is scary but I was more prepared for that this time, so afterwards I felt more relieved it was over than panicked something was going to get me. Don’t get me wrong the sequel is as scary as it predecessor I just think my management of it is more adept.
I would highly recommend watching the film, especially as Halloween is upon us. It’s a proper chiller, no real gore or guts just good old fashioned things that go bump in the night but if you do go I would not recommend doing it alone.
Hope you are all well
Love and Kisses
PS: In a more reality based kind of scary…Rob Ford is mayor?!?! How could this of happened? More on that tomorrow.