Bigger budget, fewer scares

More than a year ago, Paranormal Activity left such an impression on viewers that a rushed sequel was unavoidable. But its highly-anticipated successor, Paranormal Activity 2, falls short.

The film takes place about two months before the events of the original film and before Katie Featherson, star of the original film, was affected by any paranormal events. Everything appears normal. The family — Katie’s older sister Kristen and her husband Dan — is constantly documenting their infant son’s every move on their video camera, which is clearly director Tod Williams’ way of slowly building suspense.

But one day, they arrive home  to find the entire house in shambles — here comes the scary — and things take a turn for the worse.

Thinking it was a break-in, Dan quickly installs security cameras throughout the house. A little extreme after just one incident, but how else will viewers get a first-hand view of what’s happening in every room? Good thinking, Dan.

The first film was centered mostly on the bedroom, while the sequel gives a view of the entire house. In an obvious attempt to add layers to the first film, the writers stick with the same family when they could have focused on another group of people totally unrelated to the original.

 The film doesn’t give much more reasoning for the presence of demons than the first, but it does elicit sympathy from its viewers — how could one family have so many supernatural issues?

The family dog is a great addition to the cast. The scenes where he tenses up while growling at thin air are quite creepy, and are among the few memorable moments in the film.

Otherwise, there aren’t enough scary moments to make up for all the time viewers spend with the family. Most of the activity is not paranormal, but happy, cheesy family time.