So it came as a HUGE surprise when I sat down to watch this puppy and found that the filmmakers decided to play up and build off of the first film's strengths (while keeping the budget somewhat microscopic). More importantly, they even carved out a half-decent script and a hugely clever narrative method that not only interwove the story with the first film, but also answered questions about it that we'd never even thought to ask.
Paranormal Activity 2 (from here on out referred to as PA2 cuz I'm getting sick of typing the full name) functions much like the original in that it builds it's tension slowly, with static and repetitive night-cam shots. Non-fans of the franchise will wield this as one of PA2's most glaring weaknesses, but I found it to function again as the film's greatest strength, creating a feeling of uneasy tension rarely achieved in an era of horror films that kill off a half-dozen characters in the first act. This flick starts off light and breezy, and when the scares do come, they arrive suddenly and furiously, beginning with a rare daytime jolt that tells the audience there's no safe time or place in this house (which sucks because leaving the house seems to be, um, not an option).
The only real complaint worth lodging is a casting one, and it's minor. In order to pull off the whole "found footage" act, I feel like the cast must truly be composed of non-recognizable actors. Anyone whose seen "Sons of Anarchy" or "24" however should immediately recognize lead actress Sprague Grayden, and since I'm a die-hard Jack Bauer fan, her presence tainted the reality of the footage for me a bit.
Still though, with all the things PA2 does right, that's like complaining that there's only 28 marshmallows in your bowl of Lucky Charms. Small price to pay for all that sugary goodness.
Boldly staying true to the studio's attempt to pass the film off as actual found footage (or perhaps just out of laziness), the Blu-ray is devoid of any commentary or behind-the-scenes features. Instead we get only an extended Unrated Cut with a few more chills, and about 3 minutes of "Newly Found Footage" for those who want a bit more.
The second disc functions as both a DVD and Digital Copy, which begs the question, why do so many films have the two on separate discs?