'Paranormal Activity 2': Reviews start to roll in
"Paranormal Activity 2" has been kept away from the critics. The sequel to last year's horror movie/social media phenomenon wasn't screened in advance, supposedly so Paramount could keep the flick's surprises a secret for as long as possible.
But with the movie officially opening tonight at midnight -- and special free advance screenings held last night in a handful of cities -- some reviews are beginning to leak out.
Twenty cities got a free sneak peek of "Paranormal Activity 2" (D.C. was not one of them), prompting regular moviegoers and a few media outlets and Web sites to start sharing their opinions. The very early response is mostly positive.
Four out of the five reviews currently on Rotten Tomatoes are fresh. Most come from horror sites ("The sequel, while not better than, might be just as good as Oren Peli’s indie smash hit of 2009," writes Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting; "This is one of the best horror sequels I’ve seen," adds JimmyO at I Am Rogue), and only one critic from Brisbane, Australia, is negative.
"There are a few 'jump out of your seat' moments but when you break it down, it’s just a simple rehash of the original," concludes Matthew Toomey at his Film Pie blog.
While not a review, Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly reports that audience reaction at an early New York screening definitely fell into the freaked-out category.
And over on the ultimate gauge of the public mood -- that would be Twitter -- the chatter is mostly focused on people who plan to see the movie this weekend. It's hard to get any consensus on the quality of the sequel, although some of the people who caught the advance screening profess to having been adequately scared. (The sequel, by the way, focuses on unexplained, late-night phenomena terrorizing a family about the same time that Mica and Katie of "Paranormal Activity" were dealing with their demon. And yes, Katie does make a reappearance.)
Honestly, the level of interest coupled with the scarcity of reviews has to work in Paramount's favor. There is enough interest from a core fan base and enough mystery about what actually happens in the movie to drive people to theaters, at least for the first day or so. "Paranormal Activity 2" won't repeat the phenomenal success of the first one, simply because it can't: The original movie was a sleeper. As a sequel, "Paranormal 2" is expected to put some jittery bodies into seats. And I expect it will.
In other words -- and it pains me to say this as someone who reviews movies -- what the critics ultimately say is largely, in this case, irrelevant.
Do you plan to see "Paranormal 2"? Or will you decide after reading more reviews?
| October 21, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
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