Movie Review – Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night

So not many people know that, concurrent with production on Paranormal Activity 2, there was an alternative sequel being filmed in Japan, entitled Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night.  Released in November 2010, and directed by Toshikazu Nagae, the film follows a brother and sister in Japan who are dealing with strange happenings very similar to those from the American movies.  Pretty odd, huh?  Well, it’s an officially sanctioned sequel!

In Tokyo Night, a young man named Koichi is welcoming his sister back from her trip to America.  While  she was there, she was in a car accident that left both of her legs broken.  Their father heads out on a business trip, and, not long after, the strangeness begins.

With “two bedrooms…twice the fear,” does Tokyo Night live up to the standards set by the American films?

The main issue with Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night is that, once you’ve seen something twice…well, the third time feels a little stale.  Let’s be honest, Paranormal Activity 2 was almost exactly the same movie as the first with some slight tweaks.  Oddly though, it was still supremely effective, and genuinely scary.  While Tokyo Night doesn’t fare quite as well as PA2, it’s also pretty effective, and the tweaks are just enough to make a difference, even when you’re wondering if you’re essentially just watching a remake of the original.

And, despite the fact that we’re dealing with siblings instead of a couple, that’s pretty much the case.  The film repeats almost every incident of the first film with slight alteration.  And the two bedroom/split screen concept, while interesting visually, doesn’t really add much to the movie, as something always happens on one side that leads the person on other side to run into the room where the stuff is happening.

Some of the alterations to the original formula are effective though – the lead female, Haruka, having two broken legs makes for a pretty awesome scene late in the film.  Also, the ending seems to be going to the same EXACT way as the original, than surprises you in an interesting and effective way.

How is it connected to the first?  Well, (spoilers – highlight to read) … the “accident” that Haruka had in America?  She ran over Katie from the original.  It’s explicitly said that Katie died.  Which begs the question as to how “in” continuity this film actually is.

The actors all put on serviceable jobs, and the camera work is about what you’d expect from a Paranormal Activity film.  Much of the same tropes are played out here.  Still, if you’re a fan of the series, it’s worth seeking out this sequel to get more of the goodness that you’re used to seeing.  Just be warned … if the American Paranormal Activity 3 (due out this October) does a lot of the same tricks, we’re all going to be sick of them by then.

It’s worth noting that I saw this film is BROAD DAYLIGHT with the windows open, and still managed to jump a couple of times.  It’s definitely got some effective scenes.

Paul's Awesomeness Score - 7 out of 10

PS … maybe more of a 6.5, really.  But I didn’t have a graphic for that.

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