Who's In It: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Sprague Grayden, Brian Boland, Molly Ephraim
The Basics: In this prequel/sequel (Yes, it's both, but that's all I'll say.) the people in the first movie turn out to be the nearby family of the characters here. That means Micah is alive again and he and Katie are not quite yet plagued by the demon that wrecked their lives in the original film. That demon has to wreck the lives of Katie's sister, her husband, stepdaughter and newborn baby first. Also their dog. That poor dog gets more trouble than just about anyone.
What's The Deal: Once you've exposed the monster/boogeyman/demon/murderer in your first movie, your second movie is almost always going to be less exciting. That law of nature should rightly be in high school physics textbooks by this point. But it's not. And while this one holds your attention the entire time, everything effective or frightening about it is lifted straight from its predecessor. All the jolts, all the supernatural door-slamming, everything. Only this time there's no mystery as to what's causing it. You just sit and wait for that entity to get to work and starting haunting the heck out of these people.
What's Missing: This bigger-budget chapter opens up the camera angles a lot. If you saw the first one then you know that when the camera returned to same shot of the dark hallway through the open bedroom door at the same time every night that it was like an audience trigger to tense up and worry about was about to happen next. But this is a larger house with more cameras and more points of demonic entry. Instead of being trapped in one bedroom, this family has quite a few escape routes that they use quite a bit, which doesn't really help build a sense of dread. It just makes you think, "Get out of the house, fools. The door's right there."
Sequel Opportunities: By focusing as much on the teenage stepdaughter as it does, the movie has aimed itself right for the biggest filmgoing audience. It was also plotted with an eye to allowing her character the possibility of coming back for the seemingly inevitable third haunting that will be even less scary than this one.
Lights On Or Off After You Come Home From The Theater To An Empty House? Off. The first one was spooky enough to make you check under the beds. This one won't even make you double check to see if the front door is locked.