Now Playing: Paranormal Activity 2

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The low-budget horror hit Paranormal Activity achieved something of an aesthetic feat by dramatically dialing down the level of action and volume commonly employed in a commercial horror movie to make people jump; its mock-surveillance-camera narrative about a California couple being stalked around their home by an unseen demon was so incredibly dull most of the time that when a door flew open by itself, it had the power to shock. Operating on the same principle, Paranormal Activity 2 (R, 91 min.) is a prequel to the first film, with six home-security cameras (abetted by a lot of unlikely camcorder stuff) recording another family as they wrestle with weird occurrences around their big home and a character from the first movie (Katie Featherston) turns up as an ominous houseguest. Like Oren Pelli, who created the original, director Tod Williams keeps the dialogue So-Cal dumb and colorless, which must be part of the scare plan but makes both these movies hard to sit through.

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