Tuesday, August 23, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night' aka 'Paranômaru akutibiti: Dai-2-shô - Tokyo Night'

We've all heard of or seen the cultural phenomenon of the 'Paranormal Activity' films. To date, there are three that have been made in the states. Two have already made their way to DVD and the third is finishing up production as we speak. However, not everyone realizes that after the success of the original hit our neighbors overseas, the Japanese wanted in on the game. They decided to make an unofficial sequel to the original that basically ties together with the American version and continues the story. Meanwhile, we were continuing the story on our own. What resulted is an interesting twist on something that was already interesting to begin with. It's another take on an already established franchise and it's kind of fun to see how it all plays out in another culture. Sadly, the version I watched had terrible subtitles and even though I don't speak the language, I could tell that what was written on the bottom of the screen, did not match up with what was actually being said. You don't have to be Japanese to understand that. What I did because of that was to read what was written on the bottom of the screen and made my best effort to make sense of it all. I think I got the entire story and I left feeling that I fully got the story and what happened. Is it a worthy addition to the franchise? That kind of remains to be seen. I haven't heard too much feedback on it yet and from what I have heard, it's not the most popular ghost film out there. All I'll say right now is that I'm a fan of the series, even if that's kind of unpopular, and I love seeing anything tied together with it.... no matter how removed.

So, how does it tie together ploy wise? Here's the plot according to Wiki: "The Yamano family lives in a secluded home in a remote Tokyo residential area. Their 27-year-old daughter Haruka (Noriko Aoyama) suffered a compound fracture in a car accident while traveling in America. Haruka returns home in a wheelchair. There to meet her is her younger brother 19-year-old Koichi (Aoi Nakamura), her younger brother. Their father is away from the Yamano resident due to a business trip abroad. Koichi is left to take of his sister for until she can walk again. Not long after, strange occurrences happen in the Yamano home. Haruka's wheelchair, which was left in her room, is found in another room. Their is salt found spread around their house. Koichi becomes uneasy by these events and, because of this, he persuades his sister to set up a video camera in her room. The video camera is connected to a computer screen so Koichi can see what is going on and, if necessary, run to Haruka's room. What Koichi discovers is beyond anything he could have imagined. Noises at midnight, a cup on a table breaks, even a friend, who never gets scared, becomes terrified. The situation worsens with Haruka and Koichi threatened directly. Finally, a terrible fact is revealed." I don't think the secret is anything to amazing. As it turns out, the person who part Haruka in the wheelchair is Katie from the original film. It took place AFTER the end of the original, so I guess the theory is that the entity followed Haruka back to Tokyo? Based on the subtitles I read, that's the jist of it. Yes, that does seem a bit confusing and can almost be tied to the original timeline.... but you might need to take a small leap of faith.Well, how will this be received by me or by the general public? I'm a bit of a biased fan and I've already kind of made it clear, that I enjoyed this installment.... problems and all. But the rest of the world? I don't know. I think with the proper subtitling this might go over fine. The ending is quite a stretch and it felt like the makers weren't quite sure where to go with the storyline. It's sad to me, because there was a lot of strength earlier on in the story. Seeing how things were handled in a totally different culture vs. how the American counterparts handled it was the refreshing part of the film. All in all, the result still kind of ended up the same. The film also has some slow points, but so does the American version. This film and the others are not built around non-stop action, it's more about the slow build up to each scare. You never quite know exactly what's about to happen and that's right on par with the rest of the series. I think that despite it's obvious faults, this film still qualifies as a worthwhile addition to the story.

I may get letters of confusion about my feelings on 'Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night', but I would like to add this to my collection. I think the Japanese did the best they could based on the source material and made sure to put their own spin on the storyline. It felt like a part of the original, but still had it's own identity and voice. The actors were decent and sold the fact that they were supposed to all be living what was happening in the story. I kind of think that the side story with their father was a bit off track with everything else. The two leads were old enough to live on their own, I don't quite understand why they were still living with him. It also felt a little forced when they had guests over and one of them HAPPENED to be able to see spirits and quickly picked up on the haunting in their home. It was all a little too easy. In the end, I felt it deserved at least 3 out of 5 stars. Not the strongest in the series, but it didn't have to be.... it was unofficial. It was merely "based" on the original 'Paranormal Activity'. I'm left wondering how much re-watchability this film has? And exactly where I would watch it if I was watching them all in order? Would it come after number one or number two? That's all kind of moot anyway. Go out and track it down for yourself and let me know what you think. It's not readily available here in the states just yet, but you can track it down if you look.... bad subtitles and all.

If you like this, watch: 'Paranormal Activity', 'Paranormal Activity 2' and 'Paranormal Entity'

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