Considering the travesty that was "Blair Witch 2," it's a miracle that the studios got it right this time and actually made a sequel to a hit horror mockumentary that emulated the first film in every aspect.
"Paranormal Activity 2" is almost the same movie as the original "Paranormal," but with more characters, better acting and some special effects. Katie Featherston, who appeared in the first film, is back as the same character -- this time in more of a secondary role. The film ties the events of the first film in with a new story that takes place at the same time as the events in Part 1.
This time the focus is on the haunting of Katie's sister, Kristi and husband Dan, hwo move into a new home in Carlsbad, Calif. The haunting starts with an apparent break-in which, conveniently, inspired the already handheld camera happy family to install 24-hour surveillance cameras throughout the house to catch all the action we'll be seeing throughout the rest of the movie.
The first film only had two people -- Katie and her partner -- facing a poltergeist. This one has five characters -- mom, dad, daughter, baby, and Mexican nanny, who is the only one clued into the haunting during the film's first third.
The haunting starts modestly, with household objects like the pool cleaner acting strangely, then picks up steam when all the cupboards burst open. The older daughter does some research and suspects a relative may have made a deal with a demon for wealth nearly 10 years ago. As a result, the demon is entitled to take the family's first born son -- who just happens to be the baby, Hunter, that is living at home with the family.
Things naturally progress from there, in the mockumentary style established in the first film. There are some effective scares, the performances are good and the ending as chilling as the first film's.
While not as original as the first film, it's just as scary and scores points for cleverly tying the two stories together. It will take some serious storytelling chops to do the same thing for the inevitable "Paranormal Activity 3."