It was always a dead cert that Paranormal Activity, a low budget fright-fest that struck box office gold, would get the nod for a sequel. This has indeed transpired, and recently it was announced that Saw VI helmer Kevin Greutert is the man to direct this follow-up. However, what’s most surprising is the way in which this sequel is being constructed. For, not only does Paramount’s newest cash cow have Greutert at the helm, and away from the splatter franchise he was just getting accustomed to, but it has also swiped Lionsgate’s release date of 22 October. A little bit of healthy competition never hurt, but I suspect that there are plans afoot to turn Oren Peli’s idea into some kind of Saw-esque money-spinner.
The original Saw was a breath of fresh air – a dank, dark cult hit with a killer payoff. The sequels, however, have been released in methodical fashion, every year, each displaying a disintegration in quality. As it stands the franchise is at an all time low; the latest entry in the horror saga, 2009’s Saw VI racked up $31 million worldwide – paltry compared to 2008’s Saw V, which moped up with a total gross of $113.8 million – and was a critical failure. Up against Paranormal Activity 2 on the aforementioned date, it’s not unfair to say that Saw VII could well be the last time we see Jigsaw croak. In its place will be a new ghostly franchise, built on the success of its originator but – probably – lacking in creativity or direction with every instalment. Sound familiar?
If you disagree with this, look no further than The Blair Witch Project. This film made the mega bucks, spawned a dire sequel and has since become a latent franchise. At best Paranormal Activity as a film series can enjoy this fate, and be spared the endless procession of un-scary and uninspired sequels.
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