As with the first one, I was skeptical, not because of the hype that surrounded it this time, but because of the fact there seemed no logical way to make a sequel to this kind of a movie. The reason the first was so successful was because of the mystery around the film...was it real or no? Of course it wasn't, but we can always imagine what might be scarier might actually be true right? It doesn't matter not anymore, though the existence of a sequel discredits the franchise completely they somehow managed to make one that works. First things first, this is no sequel, it is a prequel and it lets us in on why things became so hokey in the first installment. And as the first film did, this one sets up its location, its reasons for having everything on film this time being the family has security cameras installed (the film also re-enforces why Micah from the first film decides to purchase a camera). We get the lay of the land and we are introduced to all the key characters and we see their points of view on small yet strange occurrences that have been happening around their house. The thing that elevates these films above other scary movies right now are the fact they let things simmer, they don't go for the kill right away and try to make you jump out of your seat. What this sequel does as well if not a little better than its predecessor is the way it pulls us in with the small stuff first and when we least expect it just throws all the big fireworks at us, taking us completely off guard. Though this may cause some people to see it as nothing more than a rehash of the first, but why change a formula that worked so well? To have changed things up would have been to make a sequel at the level of 'Blair Witch 2'. The film does have a nice spin on the story though, making this family the relatives of Katie from the first film and tying things to her family history that goes well with some demon lessons we get via the most level-headed character in the movie-a 16 year-old girl. This leads to the impressive fact that none of these no name actors come off as bad actors. What is so appealing about that first half of the movie is how much we come to believe in these people as normal and trustworthy human beings that could just as easily live next door to us. They convey a sense of sarcasm and authentic relational connections that when weirder and weirder things begin to happen the results are more affecting. Less being more is what the makers of these movies keep in mind and it will work every time though I really hope they don't plan on making a third one. Let's not let this become the next 'Saw', but instead stop while they're ahead and keep in tact this credible horror franchise that actually causes viewers to be genuinely frightened as they exit the theater.

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