|SYNOPSIS:The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.
DIRECTOR: James Wan
CAST:Lin Shaye, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, and Barbara Hershey
MY THOUGHTS:Not scary...but interesting.
REVIEW:"Insidious:Chapter 2"...is James Wan's follow-up shocker to his 2011 supernatural-shocker, "Insidious". Where a family with a terrifying connection to the spirit planes, are tormented by evil entities who lurk in a place called "The Further". The sequel returns Wan, along with other familiar faces. Such as Patrick Wilson as Josh Lambert, Rose Byrne as Renai Lambert, Ty Simpkins as Dalton Lambert, and Barbara Hershey as Lorraine Lambert. On the other side of things, Lin Shaye is back as Elise (sort of), and Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson are back as Specs and Tucker respectively.
This time around, not much has changed. Josh is still reeling from the events of the first film. He definitely is not "himself". His wife Renai is trying to keep the homestead together after the events of the first movie. And his son Dalton is trying to lead a normal life as a kid. Of course, that can't and won't happen, because this is like, ya know...part two and s*** so, yeah. Our otherwordly friends are not done just yet with the Lambert family. Josh in particular plays a major role in all of this. Since the focal point of the movie is his childhood, and a mysterious secret from it. That ties into what's happening now.
The family is still being hindered by entities like I said. This time, coming in the form of a creepy bride to be or...deceased bride to be in this case. She has a connection to Josh, and toys with his head throughout the film. But she also targets Renai as well. Mostly because of the baby. Who this evil woman has her sights set on. In movies like this, the nether-realm-spooks, ALWAYS....want the baby. But the sequel offers up a whole new direction than just cheap scares, and packing in a bunch of new characters just to attain a high body count. That's what most sequels do. In a movie like "Insidious:Chapter 2". You'd expect new characters such as an annoying news-reporter. Who wants the TMZ'esque exclusive on the Lambert family.
Dragging their names through the tabloid mill all the while, she is trying to uncover their deep, dark, secret. Or a nosy neighbor who is dangerously obsessed with the paranormal. But no, this movie casts a very tight net. Bringing in just 2 new characters into the game. And the returnees from part one (living and dead)...do their jobs well in "furthering" (no pun intended)...the story here. Josh's Mom Lorraine (Hershey), comes more into plays this time as a mover and shaker. She hooks up with Specs, Tucker, and their new friend Carl, who is kind of like a replacement for Elise in this movie.
To find out who is after her son and his family, 'this time'. Carl uses "dice"...(which look more like kids toy letter blocks)...to communicate with the other side. But these communications are actually the films somewhat, downfall. When Carl first receives a lead from Elise, on the dangerous entity stalking the Lambert's...it almost seems "too easy". A trained viewer, or avid watcher of horror movies, will nail this "twist" from the moment it is set in motion. Although it is fun to watch Specs and the gang trapsing around an abandoned, old, creepy hospital. Which is one of the many places this lead takes them. "Insidious:Chapter 2" doesn't reach the levels of creepiness and terror that the first movie did.
"Insidious" had better pacing, and better set-up's for the scary moments. The sequel seems to throw them at the wall whenever monotony kicks in. And whenever that happens, we'll see the ghostly bride appear and then vanish real quick. Gets annoying after awhile. And mostly because the ghostly bride is actually sort of wasted in the movie. As a villainess, she IS creepy. All the way down to her wicked-witch-of-the-west'ish voice. But I don't think she's given enough to do in the movie. Besides pop out at people in a BOO moment. Or deliver the occasional "bi**h-slap." To one of her targets. "Insidious" does deliver a better finale than the first picture did.
That was one of "Insidious"es weaknesses in my opinion. The finish seemed rushed. This time around, they do a better job of slowing down the pace, and filling out time with pivotal plot reveals, and details about what's really going on with Josh. That is followed up by a fantastic...AND I DO MEAN FANTASTIC, ending. The last scene in particular, that sets up a third movie quite nicely. Still, I wanted to learn more in this movie about the place known as "The Further". It's not explained in this movie beyond being a place of endless darkness where wayward spirits seem to just hang around.
THE GOOD:Great storytelling, and sticking with the foundation laid out by the first movie. The writers/filmmakers didn't go overboard with packing the sequel full of unecessary new characters, and subplots. Lin Shaye was great as Elise, and Leigh and Sampson were good as Specs and Tucker "back for more". "The Bride" was a great villainess and extremely creepy. Still, I wish more of her "abilities" had been put on display.
THE BAD:I thought some of the terror brought to the screen by "Insidious" was lost in part 2. Which didn't pack as much "scare-pact" as part 1 did. But most sequels barely reach the potential of their firsts, so...nothing new in that aspect really.
OVERALL:Three stars out of four.
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