'Paranormal Activity 2': The Early Reviews Are In!

Sequel to the most profitable movie of all time opens on Friday.

Some of us here at MTV News are well-rested this morning, but we can't say the same for the folks who just hit midnight screenings of "Paranormal Activity 2" and then likely struggled to get some shut-eye as freaky images fluttered through their minds until daybreak.

To prepare those of us who can wait until Thursday to see last year's breakout horror hit — and most profitable movie of all time — we've collected some of the advance word coming from the brave souls at those midnight screenings. (Beware of mild spoilers below.)

The Story, Part I

"The film's central protagonist is the sister of the first 'Paranormal Activity''s hapless Katie (actress Katie Featherston). A young mom with a husband, a stepdaughter (from a previous marriage, which ended in his wife's death), and a baby, she's played by the adorable Sprague Grayden of TV's 'Jericho.' Grayden, with her fair skin and bright eyes, bears more than a passing resemblance to Featherston, which helps with our suspension of disbelief and adds to the casual, documentary-filmmaking style that 'Paranormal Activity 2' shares with its predecessor." — Joseph McCabe, FEARnet

The Story, Part II

"Soon after we've established the home layout and family relationships of this new family, Katie shows up, and we immediately remember how, um, unwell she looked the last time we saw her. ... For the first time, we realize that 'Paranormal Activity 2' is a prequel, and that at this point in time (still 2006, the same year that Katie and Micah were terrorized), none of the things we saw in 'Paranormal Activity'

have happened. ... Not to ruin anything (closest thing to a true SPOILER, coming up), but at one point in the story, the action shifts to a post-'Paranormal Activity' timeframe, and that is something you do not want to miss if you loved the first movie. — Capone, Ain't It Cool News

The Direction

"Director Tod Williams takes the original structure to a new level. While the idea of using security cameras is not necessarily new, it may help the viewing experience of those who tire of the shaky-cam easily. The story this time around feels more complete and therefore, there is much more at stake." — Jimmy O,


The Comparison to the Original, Part I

"'PA2' works best in those overnight security camera moments, just like the original — Night #1, Night #12, Night #15. As soon as the world is seen from those familiar angles, my heart started racing and my eyes started scanning the scream for anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes, it's something simple like a falling frying pan or a moving door or a shadow cast from an unseen source. Other times, it's far worse. In most ways, 'Paranormal Activity 2' exceeds the scares of the first film, and does so without resorting to easy special effects or growing the plot outside of the home.' — Capone, Ain't It Cool News

The Comparison to the Original, Part II

"Penned by Michael R. Perry [and Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst], 'Paranormal Activity 2' stays true to the first film's mythology created by [Oren] Peli. The demon's arrival and actions are consistent with the first, which may or may not hinder your 'shock' experience. Those familiar with 'PA' will feel almost at home waiting for creeks, booms and giant pops. ... The biggest disappointment for me was that it wasn't a superior film. I expected things to escalate to a higher degree, like any sequel would, but I can't help but commend the production team for doing only what was necessary to make the sequel work. 'Paranormal Activity 2' literally is the sexy twin sister of 'Paranormal Activity'; they look slightly different, have a few variant birthmarks, and carry their own personalities — but neither one is better than the other. In fact, they're tonally so similar that when the film ended I joked about republishing my initial review for the sequel." — Brad Miska, Bloody Disgusting

The Bottom Line

"It goes without saying that 'Paranormal Activity 2' won't win over any new fans. If the first film didn't do anything for you, neither will this one. But if you felt the effects last time, if you hesitated before turning off the light or felt nervous in a room by yourself, prepare to feel the same again. This is a rare sequel that complements and enhances the original without betraying the elements that made it work in the first place, and watched back-to-back, it's the perfect one-two punch of creepy excellence. Every creak and groan in your house becomes suspect, and going to sleep is that much harder. Believe it, folks; lightning can indeed strike twice, and this flick will hit you with frightening force." — Uncle Creepy, Dread Central

Check out everything we've got on "Paranormal Activity 2."

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