The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 91/98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Brazilian Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
Starring: Brian Boland, Sprague Graydon, Molly Ephraim, Katie Featherston, Micha Sloat
Directed by: Tod Williams
Written by: Michael R. Perry, Christopher Landon, Tom Pabst
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 8, 2011
"Terror comes home"
Just as Dan and Kristi welcome a newborn baby into their home, a demonic presence begins terrorizing them, tearing apart their perfect world and turning it into an inescapable nightmare. Security cameras capture the torment, making every minute horrifyingly real.
Paranormal Activity 2 is the prequel to 2009’s Paranormal Activity and chronicles the frightening days leading up to the events of the original film, marking the return of Katie, Micah and the terrifying and malevolent presence that’s torturing them. When Katie’s sister Kristi and her husband find their house vandalized after bringing home their new baby, they set up 24-hour surveillance cameras. What unfolds on the footage is far more sinister and shocking than anything they could have imagined.
I have to admit that I found Paranormal Activity to be an effective horror film experience. I found its slowly evolving and escalating storyline to be perfectly paced and eerily frightening. I went to see Paranormal Activity 2 in the theater in the fall. I felt that it was paced too slowly and didn’t build the foundation of fear that culminated in the events that lead up to the conclusion like the original film had. That isn’t to suggest that it wasn’t scary because the last 30 minutes or so are every bit as disturbing as the first film (maybe even more so). I like the development of story, the additional characters, and its tie into Paranormal Activity.
Watching it for a second time I found that I enjoyed it a bit more. The unrated director’s cut adds about 7 minutes to the theatrical version and flows better in my opinion. There are additional sequences that provide earlier occurrences of the strange going’s on that I found made for a smoother transition leading up to that first night when Martine (the maid) is alone in the house with Hunter. This time around I also picked up on a few minor things that I initially missed. I still think that there is a little too much time spent staring at the security camera footage of the pool but there is no doubt that the extended cut contains a more cohesive narrative. The film has several decent jump scares and the last 35 minutes is every bit as involving/frightening as it was the first time I saw it. Paramount has wisely included both the theatrical and extended director’s cut as well as the inclusion of a little over 3 minutes of “found footage” that documents more of the events leading up to the crap hitting the fan. I think that Paranormal Activity 2 is a worthy prequel and companion to Paranormal Activity. This unrated director’s cut improves upon the theatrical release (not by a wide margin) and is the version I enjoyed the most. Either way you’re in for a spooky good time just be sure to watch on a rainy night when your home alone.
The rating is for language, thematic content and brief violent material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Paranormal Activity 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.9 Mbps.
Being a “documentary” this film was shot using high definition hand held and concealed CCD type video cameras with the perspective often switching back and forth. The shots captured with the high definition camera were lucid, with crisp definition, rich natural color and elevated contrast. The lower resolution security camera footage was noticeably grainy, with softer elements, and minor artifacts but certainly clear enough to get the job done. I had no real complaints with the video quality and thought that the variance contributed to the source material.
The lossless audio presentation had no trouble conveying the predominantly front loaded elements present in the soundtrack recording. Dialogue is always intelligible and exhibits fair room penetration. The mix did a nice job of handling the various directional cues associated with the hand held camera’s perspective and near field simulation. There is some off camera and atmosphere creating sounds mixed to various points in the sound field and the effect is seamlessly blended. Dynamic range, clarity and bass definition was excellent. Jump scares were palpable and jarring which served to elevate the level of anticipation quite nicely. I thought that the audio/video quality here appeared faithful to the theatrical presentation while making for an improved overall experience.
- Theatrical and Unrated Director‘s Cut of the film
- (HD) Found footage - 3 minutes
- Bonus DVD containing the unrated director‘s cut
- Digital Copy (unrated director‘s cut)
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 is the prequel to 2009’s Paranormal Activity and chronicles the frightening days leading up to the events of the original film. This is an effectively scary and disturbing film that is a worthy companion to the original film. I prefer the more cohesive narrative and smoother flow of the unrated director’s cut over the theatrical version but either gets the job done. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring faithful video quality, excellent lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound, and a barebones supplemental offering. If you liked the first film this is required viewing. Just be sure to watch it on a rainy night when your home alone.
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