Paranormal Activity 2

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Paranormal Activity 2 Movie Poster Image
Psychological horror sequel just as spooky as the original.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 63 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

These terrible things begin happening to this family -- presumably -- because of something an ancestor did; there's no sense of justice. During the crisis, the family works hard to protect the new baby, but at the same time, they don't seem able to work together. The father refuses to believe that anything is wrong. Toward the end of the story, the father makes a hard, cruel decision, which winds up biting him back.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dan refuses to believe his wife and daughter when they say that something is wrong in the house, and he fires the nanny when she tries to perform a cleansing ritual. Kristi isn't nearly as brave as the female character in the original movie, though teen daughter Ally shows some spunk from time to time.

Violence

While there's no overt violence -- and only a tiny bit of blood (a bite mark) -- the movie has almost constant sense of dread and terror. Most of the fear involves loud noises and sudden movements, except for a quick sequence in which a character's neck is broken. There's some off-screen violence involving a dog and some mild peril involving a toddler -- an invisible demon slowly drags him across his crib, but he's unharmed.

Sex

In one scene, a married couple considers taking a bath together and possibly having sex, though it's mplied through mild innuendo rather than shown.

Language

Language includes a teen using "f--k" multiple times (while frightened). Other words include "s--t," "p---y," "ass," "crap," damn," "oh my God," and "goddammit."

Consumerism

A Dunkin' Donuts ad can be heard on television. Characters play with a Ouija Board at one point.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer socially.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paranormal Activity 2 -- a follow-up to 2009's low-budget horror hit -- is as full of dread and terror as the original. While hardly any violence is shown on screen (most of the scary moments involve loud noises and sudden movements), tension and fear are constant, and -- as in the original -- the viewer's imagination provides most of the fright. There's off-screen violence involving a dog, a toddler is put in mild peril, and one character's neck is snapped. Language is fairly infrequent but strong; it includes "f--k," "s--t" and "p---y." Teens who survived the original will most likely want to see this one, too.

User Reviews

Parent Written byPlague November 1, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2

Very jumpy and creepy, but at the same time, intelligent and really does a good job intertwining the original movie into the film's plot.
Adult Written byEvanReviews November 8, 2010

Terrifying Movie, But For An Older Audience

Great movie but has some language and sexual innuendo in some scenes
Teen, 13 years old Written byfangningsheng April 29, 2011

Not that scary

Paranormal Activity 2 isn't as scary as you might think. It is often difficult to tell what's going on. Concerns might be swearing and some violence,... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 25, 2013

EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST

an even scarier and better, version of Oren Peli's masterpiece. This sequel starts off with katies sister Kristi and her husband Daniel, and her stepdaught... Continue reading

What's the story?

Two months before the events of Paranormal Activity, Katie's sister, Kristi (Sprague Grayden), brings home her new baby boy, Hunter. Her proud husband, Dan (Brian Bolden), has a teen daughter, Abby (Molly Ephraim), from a previous marriage; Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) occasionally visit. One day the family discovers that an unseen intruder has ransacked the house, without stealing anything. Dan sets up several surveillance cameras, and they begin to capture the increasingly creepy events in the house, which range from loud noises to falling frying pans to more sinister occurrences. The family dog, which has taken to sleeping in Hunter's room, suddenly collapses from an "attack" one night, and even Hunter is pulled out of his crib by unseen forces. Things get worse when Kristi becomes the source of the attacks, forcing Dan to make a tough decision.

Is it any good?

It's not quite as good as the first film, but it's a clever idea for a sequel and definitely delivers in the spooky department. For the follow-up to 2009's massive indie horror hit, veteran writer Michael R. Perry and director Tod Williams (The Door in the Floor) take over for original creator Oren Peli (he was a producer this time around). They maintain the style and tone of the original film: The terror remains offscreen and mostly in the imagination of the viewers, more psychological than gory. From that perspective, it's very effective and intense, creating tension with small things like an open door or a spinning mobile over a child's crib.

That said, the characters in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 seem less powerful, though there's an interesting family dynamic going on. And unlike the first film, the demon attacks are somewhat motivated here, which negates the feeling of irrational terror inspired by the first movie -- and actually explains some of the irrational terror of the first film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a movie scary -- blood and gore or implied violence. 

  • What scared you most, and why? How did you feel about being scared?

  • What would be the effect of constantly filming your life?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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