Movie Review – Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

Director James Wan and partner in crime, actor/writer , Leigh Whannell, are back with Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity franchise) as producer, to make a sequel to 2010’s hit horror flick,  Insidious. Aptly called Insidious: Chapter 2, the movie takes off the moment where the first one ended with the death of psychic, Elise Rainier.

Wake up Elise

Elise, please wake up and smell the roses!

If you are a fan of the first movie, will the second keep you happy? If you haven’t seen the first one, will this second one make any sense to you? If you hated Insidious 1 then you probably won’t enjoy part 2 either, and probably won’t even continue reading this.

Black Bride

Evil spirits and bad oral hygiene

The film makers had established in Insidious 1, Josh Lambert, the father of the family, has the unusual ability to travel to a ghost realm in his sleep and had passed down this skill to his offspring, Dalton. By the end of chapter 1, Josh had to re-connect with his forgotten powers to go into the ghostly realm, The Further, to rescue Dalton from the evil clutches of the black bride. With this new chapter released, it is obvious, the haunting hasn’t ended for the Lambert family since Josh has returned back to the world of the living but not quite himself.


Dalton and the ghosts

For those who have not seen chapter 1, you will need to watch it for the background knowledge. Insidious 2 has already been airing for over a month now in the US. The reviews have been pretty good.  The last movie directed by Wan, The Conjuring, had been pure cinematic enjoyment and a real horrorfest to watch. In this new installment, Wan, who makes a cameo appearance on a desktop image on the ghost hunter’s laptop,  has retained the low-budget feel to the entire film. There are few special effects sequences, therefore relying, once again, on old houses, antiques, good filming skills, and good acting from the cast, to create a disturbing film. However, Insidious: Chapter 2 was a mix-bag for me. The introductory scenes could have been done better with more experienced  actors. Their performance bordered on amateur highschool play.

Mother of the Bride

“Please switch off your phone and stop talking in the cinema”

The movie opened with egregious performances from some amateur actors which really annoyed me, then plods along slowly until half way then shifts into higher gear when the plot begins to unravel with the introduction of 2 new characters, and the development of the bride in black background. Even with the surprising twist and turns in the plot, which certainly intrigued the audience, the momentum of the film had been stalled with a few poorly executed, choppy scenes which involved the evil beginning to manifest in Josh at the house, and ghost hunters investigating the bride in black’s background. While I assume the director was trying to create suspense and intrigue for audiences, the discontinuous and poorly developed scenes affected my viewing pleasure. When you watch it, you will know what I mean.

Mother and Patrick

“If you download illegal copies of my movie, I will haunt you!”

Another agitation was to why any parent would continue leaving their infant in a baby room on a different floor after having the experience of being haunted, and then discovering they are still being disturbed by strange events. It is illogical. Several scenes of parents rushing up and down in a creaky house to check on the baby, then back down to investigate a sound, and then rushing back up to a crying or missing baby is silly.

Josh talking to Mother

Insidious 2 isn’t Wan and Whanell’s best work. Occasional comic injections which worked in the first installment had been poorly timed in this sequel. What it lacks in suspense or horror compared to part 1, though, is balanced with a good twist in the plot. It is a clever horror story with several tributes to some classic horror flicks such as Psycho and Poltergeist. However, it is let down by some poor editing and execution. If you like how the Wan-Whannell style of connecting different scenes from different movie installments, there are some good scene tie-ins as Insidious: Chapter 2 edges towards the end.

I liked how the movie ends by closing the chapter on the Lambert family haunting, and then leaving the door open for a brand new angle, possibly, for Insidious 3!

Lambert family

“Yes we would like to buy a comprehensive life insurance including death caused by evil spirits”

 

Insidious: Chapter 2 haunts Malaysian cinemas 17 October 2013

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