'Paranormal Activity 2' fends off the 'Blair Witch' curse. But will there be a 'Paranormal Activity 3'? Should there be?

When Paramount Pictures first announced it was making a sequel to the horror phenomenon Paranormal Activity, a lot of people were highly skeptical — including me. Like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity seemed like one of those fluky, out-of-nowhere smashes that couldn’t be repeated. Greenlighting a sequel so quickly — and then hurrying it into production just seven months after the first movie hit theaters — felt like a classic case of trying to get lightning to strike in the same place twice. After all, we all know how the Blair Witch sequel, Book of Shadows, turned out: it bombed big time, making less than a tenth of what the original film did at the domestic box office, dashing any hopes of a Blair Witch 3. When you think about it, how many really worthwhile horror movie sequels have there been anyway? For every Dawn of the Dead or Scream 2 or Evil Dead II (which was really more of a beefed-up remake than a sequel), there are a whole lot of Poltergiest II: The Other Sides and Exorcist II: The Heretics. So it’s a pretty stunning achievement for everyone involved in Paranormal Activity 2 that they didn’t just beat expectations with the movie’s $41.5 million opening weekend — they smashed them to a bloody, horror-movie pulp.

You can be sure that at this very moment there are conversations going on in the executive suites at Paramount about a potential Paranormal Activity 3. In fact, there already have been: Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore has said, “It’s certainly our hope that [producer] Oren [Peli] and his team have the ability to deliver another chapter in this.” On the one hand, while reviews were generally positive (including our own Owen Gleiberman’s), audiences gave Paranormal Activity 2 a decent-but-not-spectacular CinemaScore of B, perhaps suggesting some fatigue with the whole demons-caught-on-faux-home-video premise. On the other hand, as a return on investment — Paranormal Activity 2 cost a mere $3 million to produce and had relatively low marketing costs — this franchise seems like the closest thing possible in Hollywood to a tree that grows money. How can they resist doing another one? Or even several more?

But what do you think? Where does Paranormal Activity 2 fit for you in the canon of horror sequels? Do you see any creative life left in this franchise, or should they quit while they’re ahead? Give us your best pitch for what you’d like to see in a Paranormal Activity 3. I’m sure the folks at Paramount would love to hear it.

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  • LOL

    Never underestimate the stupidity of America. How many “Saw” movies are there?

    • Marcus Dixon

      The seventh comes out next week. You can always find out the answers to your questions on something called the internet.

      • dur

        I find your sarcasm strangely ironic

      • Cate

        It’s called a rhetorical question. You can look it up on the internet, too.

  • grant

    I think there could be an awesome way for them to do a 3rd one. (SPOILER WARNING) I think they could totally do the story line of when katie and her sister were little girls being tormented by the demon. They could also give some insight by showing how their great grandmother made this deal for money with the demon. And show how katie’s mom went crazy after the whole ordeal. I mean it would be hard doing all of that and still have the homevideo feel. Actually it probably wouldnt work but I think that could be a very good idea.

    • Joe

      I agree entirely with your suggestion. I’d suspect they would present it as some found footage from their childhood, with normal idyllic scenes of family life shaded by strange happenings in the background. I’m not sure how they’d sustain such for an hour and a half, but hey, it’s hollywood!

      • Alicia

        The third could start off with some footage of their childhood and the fire. Instead of the ‘getting to know the family’ part in the first two movies, it’d start it off with a darker, more sinister feel. The camera quality has to be totally different for the era for it to feel real, but I’m sure they can pull it off, if a geico commercial can. But I wouldn’t want an entire movie about it. I’d want to know more about Katie and Hunter – and in that case, they should really stop putting ‘…and they were never seen again.’ at the end if they’re gonna make sequels.

      • hecati

        The ‘…and they were never seen again’ at the end makes sense even with a sequel, as PA2 one was more of prequel and then concluded the first one.

    • Ben

      Exactly my thoughts :) if not that then go forward with Hunter and Katie

    • Victta!

      Youre idea is great and all but its going to be hard since video taking the past is going to be hard since katie doesnt even want to deal with the camera buisness anyways and when they were little girls arent going to make the home video feeling happen because what would 8year-old girls document everything and theyre grandma wouldnt even think of doing the whole documentray thing because she wouldnt care less now that she’s rich .

  • Lina

    They should take a break. If there’s any sign of fatigue they should wait it out, prep like crazy and make the movie in a couple of years when the audiences are ready to spend.

  • REP

    Not as good as the first one. The first Paranormal Activity, i went in and watch and that the movie was real because it’s a home video shot and it looks authentic and i was blown away as a result. Not so in Paranormal Activity 2, it doesn’t scare me since i know it’s faked. Plus, a lot of stuffs in part 2 is almost like they’re trying to copy of the original in order to sell. It was not a good sequel to me…i’ll give it a B.

    • Marcus Dixon

      You thought the first one was real?

    • Dave

      What Marcus Dixon said.

    • brijazz

      Wait… these movies are FAKE? You really should post a spoiler alert ;P

    • Phil

      Well REP pretty much nailed as to that whole questioning why Paramount rushed this here sequal 7 months later!

  • Mary

    (Spoiler) They can continue the story from the perspective of the stepdaughter…maybe fast forward a few years and explain how these events really sharpened her sense of perception. She was very much like an amateur detective in this last movie and was skillful at using a hand held video recorder. I bet she would make it her mission to try and locate baby Hunter…or to try and make a deal with the demons in exchange for Hunter. Not realizing, of course, that the deal she might make would be even worse than the one that had been made. So many angles that this could go. I did enjoy the second one…just as much as the first. Except for the basement scene twoards the end….it was too dark…and I couldn’t understand what was going on down there. Did the house shake as the husband was trying to put the cross on his wife??

    • Joe

      (Spoiler) Yes. And it shook as the spirit was transferred to Katie.

      • jack

        Yea. i think they should have a three. with stepdaughter and the babysitter..since she will prolly be her guardian since her parents are dead. and they prolly go looking for baby hunter.

    • Jesse

      That’s as good an idea as any I’ve come up with. I don’t know if it should be a found footage idea, but certainly the stepdaughter proved to be a likable, proactive heroine in the second. Any third film should focus on her. The producers may have left that door open as a possibility, seeing as how they conveniently whisked the character out of town for that final scene.

    • Phil

      I mentioned on here yesterday that they have the option of going with either the step daughter or going in the past and going with the girls as kids with the fire…but I think that relies to heavily on children…so I’ve been wracking my head thinking of a solution, and the only one I can come up with, is using Martine (I dunno how they spell her name in the credits). Much like how they did with PA2, they could use Martine’s families experiences with spirits in the past leading up to her working for the family, being fired, and then returning to get rid of the demon. Sounds corny, but in most threequels in the past, this was usually the rather horrid angle the writers used. But it is 2010…I would hope they wouldn’t need to exploit the Hispanic demographic angle, and would stick with the idea of the kids. Still, I would like to see more of her…considering since her return to the household was quick, and she came up with the transference spell, but didn’t stick around to help out with it! And essentially caused all this, haha!

  • courtney

    I think that Ali will take it upon herself to make her own documentary about the history of Katie and Kristi’s family inviting the demon into their lives in the first place. In doig so I think she will invite the demon into her life and we will see just what has been done with Hunter. They left her alive for a reason…

  • Shawn

    I still don’t get how people find this movie, or the previous one scary. It’s Blair Witch with slightly better acting, a lower budget, and just as annoying. If you want low-budget horror movies that are scary, then rent Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. As for how many Saw movies there are, Friday the 13th has it beat by five movies, although the Saw series is the more financially successful of the two.

    • matt

      im sorry but that movie you mentioned is absoloute rubbish. blair witch and paranormal are the scariest movies ever made.. end of story. although there isnt much to compare them too..

      • Dave

        If you think Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity are the scariest movies ever made, then I’ll have to assume you haven’t seen many other horror movies. I know fear is subjective and all, but seriously, those are far from being the scariest movies ever made.

      • Lisa Simpson

        I don’t watch many scary movies, but “Blair Witch” wasn’t scary in the least. Three annoying city kids get lost in the woods and get scared of twigs. Where’s a rabid squirrel when you need one?

      • Just Saying…

        Couldn’t agree more with Dave….I didn’t find either of these scary…however, I really haven’t found ANY horror movies that were ‘scary’…its subjective of course….but I suggest you take a look at some classics, The Exorcist for instance…you might find yourself surprised at how scary it actually was for its time.

  • Mary

    (Spoiler) I also questioned why the wife when possesed by the demon…didn’t just take the baby and leave….she was more or less comatose once possessed. But when the demon was transferred to Katie, she killed Mecah in the first one, and then her sister and hubby in this one (very unconvincingly)

    • Matt

      (Spoiler) I don’t think possessed-Kristie had the energy to do much more than lay around. Remember that Katie took a day or two to get out of her trancelike state and kill Micah.

    • Tammy

      Probably because the demon was content at the time it possessed the mother. It had the baby in its possession, it didn’t let anyone near it, and that was probably enough for it at the time. Then they transferred the spirit over to Katie separating it from Hunter. At that point it was probably mad so it killed all the people intervening (the father & mother).

    • KarlHall

      Tammy, I would have to go with a combo of yours and Matt’s hypotheses, though. The demon seemed like it needed to rest after doing the possession. It didn’t seem like it had the energy to immediately take the baby and leave.

      In fact, I think it tried to scare them away at the start, with all the noises and the scratches, etc. When that didnt work it went after the people. When it was transferred it finally got pissed and came back to end this fast.

  • Amy

    i thought that this movie was a great sequel i liked it just as much as the first.what i thought was very strange was that on the trailer there is a scene where the baby is out crawling on the street and that was not a scene in the movie.

    • Erin

      yeah i was actually looking for the scene where the baby was crawling in the road and it never came! I wonder if it was cut or something??? i was wondering how the baby was gonna get outside but it never happened!!

      • hecati

        I was wondering where that scene went as well! When the daughter went outside, I thought the baby was going to be out there, but then they never showed it. Maybe they took it out?

  • t.t

    they can make another one just not due next year. in 5 years a 3rd one will be welcome.

  • Del Taco

    (SPOILER) I think filmmakers let Alli ( the hot babe stepdaughter )survive to be the focus of part 3. She’s on a mission to find Hunter. Does more family research, finds a couple with same problems, sets us video surveillance, cam corderss in their house to gain intel on Katie and Hunter’s whereabouts.

    • KarlHall

      Was anyone reminded of Supernatural?

      I had the feeling Ali was going to be hellbent on revenge now. She’s going to make this demon pay for killing her parents, especially since she was in on the loop too.

  • Lance

    they should definitely keep it going..i found myself really impressed at prequel/sequel setup of the movie..that certainly made up for it not being as scary as the first..it would definitely be interesting to let alli take the lead and track down hunter and katie

  • Trey

    Please, no Paranormal Activity 3. The first wasn’t even scary, and there shouldn’t have even been a sequel/

    • brijazz

      Hear that, Hollywood? Trey didn’t like your movies, so please stop.

  • Guido Supasta

    Turn it over to George Lucas. He really knows how to suck the creative good out of something to milk the public for dollars!

  • John

    I know many of you won’t agree but I was disappointed with the first movie. I thought it had some good ideas and it was brilliantly marketed through word of mouth and trailers showing cowering people in packed theaters, with tag lines like “Demand It” and “Don’t See It Alone”. Plainly put, I wasn’t scared. The “Actual Footage” films are an over tapped idea in a film industry that seems to have a hard time coming up with new ideas on how to -truly- scare people. Audience’s get bored with constant sequels, prequels, remakes and gore. Stop squeezing franchises for every last penny. Don’t just try to make us jump in our seats. Be more creative Hollywood. I DARE you to scare me!

    Worst film seen this year: Airbender (ugh)
    Best film seen this year: Inception

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