SAYS DE PALMA AS DIRECTOR MAKES SENSE NOW THAT HE'S SEEN THE MOVIE
Slant critic Simon Abrams on Paranormal Activity 2, which was directed by Tod Williams:
As ridiculous as the rumor may have seemed at the time, all the talk about how Brian De Palma was being sought out to direct Paranormal Activity 2 makes sense now. It is, after all, an overtly meta-textual narrative about the representation of violence on film. If nothing else, Paranormal Activity 2 directly grapples with the potential conceptual uses for the franchise's defining narrative strategy of combining security camera footage and video shot on handheld digital cameras by the film's protagonists in ways that Paranormal Activity didn't even attempt. We're frequently reminded that we're watching edited footage (i.e. a narrative that only looks like raw documentary footage), as with the massive Kubrickian intertitles that tell us the date at the start of every night of recorded footage.
Anyone watching Paranormal Activity 2 closely enough will see that the transitions between different cameras in the film isn't motivated by any internal logic but rather a narrative one. For instance, loud late night banging coming from outside a front door isn't explicitly shown, though there's a security camera present to document the event. That scene is cut in such a way that we can only see through that camera after the fact, confirming that we only get to see what the implied documentary filmmakers, as omniscient storytellers, want us to see in order to make their narrative spookier. In that sense, unlike its predecessor, Paranormal Activity 2 doesn't even look like a video report on unexplained events anymore: It's footage of a fake haunting transformed into a film-within-a-film.
Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 10:52 PM CDT
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