This is a sequel I have been highly anticipating ever since it’s announcement. I was happy to learn that the director of the first film, James Wan, would be returning to helm this one. Wan has shot up the horror ladder rather quickly in my mind as a true master in the genre. It really is too bad he has said publicly he will not be making any more horror films. After directing some instant classics in Insidious and The Conjuring, I was hoping he would have much more to contribute to the genre. And he is set to direct the next Fast and the Furious film, apparently. What a damned shame. SHAME!
At least Wan leaves horror on a good note with yet another solid contribution – albeit not as masterful, imaginative, or frightful as his last couple. Insidious: Chapter 2, picks up right from where Insidious left off. The Lambert family is back, with original cast, and are again being pestered by supernatural forces. Patrick Wilson truly shines in this role, which is made more challenging than in the first film. Rose Byrne is terrific as usual and lovely as always. The story focuses on whether Josh Lambert is indeed possessed by the spirit of the old woman from the first film. A lot of flashbacks are used to tell the origins of how this haunting began during Josh’s childhood, and for the most part it worked well and was enjoyable to follow. Wan and Leigh Whannell tell this story clearly and intelligently; anyone watching this sequel without having watched the first Insidious will easily be able to follow along with what is going on and the back-story will make total sense.
My main problem with this one when it comes right down to it is that it does not match the original’s tension, tone and mood. Humour is also more pronounced and used a bit too much in my opinion. Not to say that this is a laugh-a-minute comedy or anything, but still, compared to the first film, there is plenty added in for laughs. The scares are also mostly effective but lack the punch seen in the first film. My butt wasn’t on the edge of the seat during this chapter like it was in the other one and only a couple of moments managed to get my heart rate up slightly. Music was used effectively again, with the notable and disappointing exception of Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through the Tulips missing in action. Some of the sound effects also lacked some of the thumping power used in the first film.
It may look like I don’t like this movie based on what I have said so far here. Truth is I enjoyed it a lot. But Insidious (2010) really blew my socks off when I first watched it and still effective a few repeat viewings later, that the sequel really had a huge level to live up to for my tastes. It delivers in most aspects, and compared to most of the horror films in recent years, it is still a notch above most. For once I didn’t think that the explanation of everything ruined the film completely, however, it did take away from a lot of the mystery and intrigue the franchise had going for it.
Do I recommend this? Yes, it’s a no-brainer, especially if you are a big fan of the first film. I do like that the ending left it open for the franchise to continue on, even if it will be without the talented James Wan. Hopefully it doesn’t suffer from the same collapse in quality as the SAW franchise did with all its sequels. I loved the first SAW but after it, the sequels were forgettable at best, and annoying at worst. But that’s a story for another day. As far as Insidious: Chapter 2 is concerned — watch it.