Film Review “Insidious: Chapter 2”

Insidious_–_Chapter_2_PosterDirected by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey
Distributed by: FilmDistrict
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 105 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Man, I really wanted to LOVE this film. “Insidious” is easily one of my favorite horror movies of all-time. Yes! I really like it that much. Over the last two years, I have seen it probably 10-15 times and it consistently continues to scare me and to be honest sticks with me for days after watching. That to me just shows that you have a good scary movie on your hands. The visual aspect of the film is like nothing that I have ever seen before. It is amazingly creepy and really keeps you at the edge of your chair and biting your nails. Unfortunately none of that is true with “Insidious: Chapter 2”. The film tries to achieve this larger scale and falls fast into working with typical boring horror cliches.

“Insidious: Chapter 2” starts off in a flashback to 1986 where we see a younger Josh Lambert during his first meeting with Elise Ranier in order to control his astro-projections and save him from the woman in the wedding dress. From there we get taken to the night after the events of the first film, which is where we continue from. Josh’s family is suspicious about him when he starts behaving differently after that night (and if you’ve seen the first film we assume that his physical body was taken by the old woman in the wedding dress). So the family needs to find out what really happened that night after Elise was murdered.  They also realize that these ghosts that are haunting them do not seem to be finished with them.

After James Wan delivered the amazing “The Conjuring”, I thought this guy was a force to be reckoned with. This film as much as it pains me to say feels like a cash in on the popularity of “Insidious”. The story tries to act as a prequel and sequel at the same time yet crams too much in to flow well. It sacrifices critical plot points in order to fit in the back story.  The first film works so well since it has this very minimalist approach. There is also more back story behind the old woman in the wedding gown that we were introduced in the first film. I thought that she was creepy as well in the first film but as they gave the brief back story, she became less scary. In terms of scares, they are almost non-existent. There are maybe one or two decent jumps. Most importantly the ghosts especially do not have that same eerie presence that they did in the first film.

The focus of the film was steered from the main characters Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) while they tried expand the story with the rest of the cast and like I said it all just feels too busy. There is much more focus on Barbara Hershey’s character Lorraine Lambert and also more focus on the comedy duo Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). I am sure that was a fan request…and I love their characters in the first film but I feel like in this one they were really trying to get too many laughs. In the first film the comedy was very well-blended and with the sequel it was more laugh-out-loud, which I felt didn’t work with the tone of the film.

I know that I was going into this film with very high hopes, so the anticipation was crazy high. I normally do not like doing that since then the ratio for failure is higher. When it comes down to it though, sometimes movies just don’t really need a sequel. I know the first film was left with a pretty big cliffhanger but it was a good cliffhanger. After you watched it, you continued to think about it and it messed with your head. This film does not achieve that same feeling. I should have known better than to think that a horror sequel could top the original. I will just stick with the original film and I suggest you do the same.

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