The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shayne, Ty Simpkins, and Steve Coulter
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Leigh Whannell, and James Wan
When the news hit, it was disappointing to hear that there would be a sequel to “Insidious.” It has its flaws, but is one of the scarier movies of the past few years. A sequel just didn’t feel necessary even with a few unanswered questions left at the end of it. However, when a horror movie makes money, a sequel is sure to follow (see you soon “The Conjuring 2”). So does “Insidious: Chapter 2” prove to be a worthy sequel?
In a much-appreciated move, Chapter 2 picks up shortly after the events of chapter 1 instead of years later. Actually it begins with what appears to be a random flashback to when Josh (Patrick Wilson) is a child, but later becomes a pivotal scene in the movie. After the flashback, the audience sees the family just after they move into Josh’s mother’s home. It’s here that two of the biggest questions left at the end of the original set the tone for this sequel.
The first one is who killed Elise (Lin Shaye)? That’s what the police want to know, and question Renai (Rose Byrne) about. The brief police investigation at the beginning seems to be a waste of screen time. Of course they point the finger at Josh, which leads to the other question. Is it really Josh who came back from the Further?
Besides the useless police investigation, the two awkward Ghostbuster wannabes from chapter 1 return to answer these questions with the help of Elise’s friend Carl (Steve Coulter). Their attempt at answering these questions takes them to an abandoned hospital and house, which set up scare opportunities. The bar for the scares is set high after the terrific scares through the first half of chapter 1. To no surprise, they don’t measure up. Yes, there are some decent ones, but nothing tops what’s accomplished in chapter 1. However, chapter 2 certainly maintains the same level of tension, and creepiness.
Renai is a target of some of the best scares in chapter 1, and is a big target again. Anytime she’s alone the ghost seems to take the opportunity to strike fear in her. The fault with some of the scares on her is that they remind the audience of “Paranormal Activity.” One of the better scares actually occurs in the presence of Dalton (Ty Simpkins), who actually spends some time awake this time around.
Probably the best thing about chapter 2 is the story. As it goes on, it might leave audiences wondering where it’s headed. However, once all of the pieces are revealed, it becomes one nicely constructed puzzle. They do a good job of tying in parts of chapter 1 right into this story. Also, as mentioned before, they do an excellent job of bringing importance to an opening scene that appears as if it’s only there to try to scare the audience. The only thing that might have been missing is a chance to dig deeper into what the Further is all about. As expected, there is a return to the Further, but nothing really new is learned about it.
In the end, “Insidious: Chapter 2” does just enough to prove it’s a worthy sequel. Most of that is due to how well the story is constructed around the events of chapter 1. It’s not surprising that the scares didn’t match chapter 1, but the tension and creepiness is still present. The actors seem more comfortable with their characters this time around, so they should be ready for chapter 3. Yes, it will be a trilogy. I give “Insidious: Chapter 2” 3 pools of blood.