Movie Review: Insidious Chapter 2
Prinz Lee wrote this review 3 years and 6 months ago
Although more of the same with added twists, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell found ways to make this sequel interesting and creepy.
Working individually and collectively, director James Wan, screenwriter Leigh Whannell and producer Jason Blum have been responsible for some of the most influential, commercially successful and flat-out terrifying horror-thrillers of the past decade.
In 2001, Wan and Whannell unleashed the groundbreaking and hugely successful gore-porn “Saw,” giving birth to a freakish franchise in which Whannell continued to serve as writer (“Saw II” and “III”) and executive produced. Wan most recently helmed the acclaimed haunted-house tale “The Conjuring,” while Blum has overseen mind-chilling hits such as “Paranormal Activity” and “Sinister.” Together, the triangle-of-terror collaborated on the disturbing, original 2011 psychological horror-thriller “Insidious,” a low-budget flick that became the most profitable theatrical release that year.
Fast forward to 2013 and the triangle-of-terror are back—along with the entire cast of “Insidious”—with “Insidious: Chapter 2,” which continues the story of the Lambert family’s life-and-death struggles with intense spirits bent on destroying their lives.
What works with this sequel is its continuity. Not steering much from what we saw in the first one, “Insidious: Chapter 2” recaps a lot of its purposeful scares, while answering questions. In many ways, there’s a string of rehashes, but cleverly enough, Wan’s and Whannell’s scare-tactics seem to work—even in moments where you pretty much know there’s something coming.
Setting a pace with an opening scene that takes us back to Josh’s (Patrick Wilson) childhood, the gritty-textured scenery full of dark embrace starts digging itself into your psyche and transporting you into a world known as “The Further.” A world inhabited by an evil demon that gets more in-depth time and explanation than we anticipated, raising the freakiness of this film even more as it runs parallel to the new-and-improved, odd occurrences Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh start experiencing.
One of the most enjoyable layouts in this film is its focus on Josh’s possession. There’s a sense of harsh and sad vulnerabilities as its exposure plays throughout the film affecting everything and everyone around him. Jumping from one extreme to the next, the deeper the story gets, the creepier it feels when some of its moments not only revisit the first film, but there’s also an intense scene that pays homage to “The Shining”—another psychological, hair-raising thriller! (You’ll know when you see it.)
Another aspect of frightening awesomeness is Wan’s less-is-more appeal when giving you big scares. There’s a long link of eeriness throughout the film that plays with your head, but when those hard moments appear, they’re there, hard, and in your face! Sometimes, his best set-ups are those where you feel something’s about to happen, you wait for it, nothing, then get it a few seconds or minutes later where it’s totally unexpected. If anything, a smart, filmmaking way to keep one’s interest—one of those scenes takes place in a bed-room involving Dalton (Ty Simpkins).
My only gripe with the film is one that entails Josh and “The Further.” There’s a detailed segment that left some wonder. I, of course, will not give it away, but it led to a couple of questions that tie into the first film which seemed a bit vague, but with detail in the second, there’s a plot-hole that left me a bit puzzled. I can’t say it went to an extent where it affected the film as a whole, but it does leave a bit of a question-mark, followed by an ambiguous ending that teases at a third. Not much can be said or wished upon considering the film covered the family’s ordeal as a whole, but when introducing a new family, it’ll be interesting to see where they’ll take it—if they go there!
As James Wan temporarily closes his chapter of psychological thrillers to focus on a world of high octane-based car chases, along with tough-guy jargon in “Fast & Furious 7,” it’ll be interesting to see how “Insidious: Chapter 2” touches its fan-base.
Grade: B / Genre: Mystery, Suspense, and Horror / Run Time: 1 Hr. 45 Min. / Rated: PG-13
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
Directed by: James Wan