Paranormal Activity 2



Psychological horror sequel just as spooky as the original.
  • Review Date: October 20, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.


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 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."


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.

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.

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?


For the sequel to 2009's massive indie hororr 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. Overall, though, it's a clever idea for a sequel and definitely delivers in the spooky department.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:October 22, 2010
DVD release date:February 8, 2011
Cast:Brian Bolden, Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden
Director:Tod Williams
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some language and brief violent material

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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, including a man having his neck broken and a woman being slammed into a wall. However, this will terrify young kids. Suggested MPAA rating: R for language and some violent content
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byashbudgie1 June 25, 2011

Not a bad sequel.

It's very much like the first "Paranormal Activity", only with a family. *spoilers* A dog gets injured and at least one person dies graphically on screen. It's not for kids or the faint-of-heart, but as a horror movie, it's not disgusting or brutal. If you liked the first one, you will probably enjoy this one too.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written by2Simple October 30, 2010

Scarier than the first!

Remember - scarier does not always equal "better". The original was better, I think, because the characters were more believable and the idea was novel. This sequel has more scares and jump moments, but you don't really care much about the family. The dog and the baby are the only ones you actually root for. This is not a movie for kids under 15, so don't even think about taking them unless you want them to have some really bad nightmares. The violence is freaky, although mostly implied rather than shown (but not always), and the language is bad, but not as raunchy as in the first movie. A couple discusses having sex in the bathtub, but it isn't shown and little kids won't understand the references anyway. All in all, great movie to see if you like horror, and especially if your teenager likes horror. It's not as gruesome or nasty as many horror movies out there, so give it a try!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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