Paramount has hired Saw VI director Kevin Greutert and prime time veteran writer Michael R. Perry to create the sequel to last year's indie sensation, Paranormal Activity. Director Oren Peli made the film on a $15,000 budget but it went on to cash in over $150 million worldwide, boasting a clever web marketing campaign. Peli and Jason Blum will continue on with the series as producers and Steven Schneider (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance redux) will serve as executive producer. Ironically, Paranormal Activity 2 will be up against Lionsgate's Saw VII for this year's pre-Halloween weekend. After Saw VI grossed a mere $31 million in 2009, many are left wondering if the franchise is dying and if a Paranormal Activity series may be ready to take its place.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Peli is behind the new team stating, "These guys get it, and the fans won't be disappointed." The storyline about a a young couple who battle a malevolent entity after capturing evidence on tape will be kept intact. No word yet if the cast of four will return for the sequel and no clues as to whether or not Greutert will use the same approach as Peli--using unknown actors and setting the story in a singular location. That was part of the beauty of the first film and I'm leery that this aspect will remain.

If all this news sounds familiar, then you're probably thinking of the Blair Witch phenomenon, which fell flat after Artisan Entertainment pushed for a sequel on the coattails of a successful first go-round. Paramount is hoping to do the same after Paranormal Activity by spending $1 million a year to make a dozen or more low budget films, each costing less than $100,000. Peli's hotly anticipated Area 51, now in post-production, won't be part of this schematic as he'll be working with a $5 million budget this time.

I'm not sure if Paranormal Activity's mythology lends itself to another film. Personally, it didn't hold up for me upon repeated viewings and I've been exhausted by the constant coverage of the film, months after its release. I can't help but think this sequel is going to crush the subtlety of the first film and bleed it dry entirely. I have a deep respect for what Peli has done and want to cheer him on but I'm really torn. Where do you stand on things?
categories Movies, Horror