Monday, December 30, 2013

Film Review: Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)

Insidious: Chapter 2 (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Fans of the original's Further sequence will enjoy it the most..."

Starting where the last ended, the Lamberts feel liberated from their last haunting and relieved to have their son back, despite an unfortunate passing. However, there is still an ominous presence surrounding the family, especially Josh (Patrick Wilson) who doesn't seem to be completely aware...

Insidious: Chapter 2 begins with a prequel-like sequence -- not a flashback per se -- which shows Josh as a child and his first encounter with Elise, who tries to help him get rid of his "friend". Fast forward to the present, only moments after the first film, and we see the Lamberts try to piece together their lives. Josh's wife, Renai (Rose Byrne), and mother witness the same experience as before, while Josh is reluctant to believe it's happening again. So, his mother comes into contact with Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) to find the source of the haunting, while Renai tries to survive at home. The final act connects well to the first film, but feels too hectic. The ending, of course, is left open for another sequel.

Insidious: Chapter 2 links directly to the previous film, so you really have to watch the first to truly enjoy the second. The story in this film is much more creative than the first -- it almost feels like a fantasy horror film, and I like that. At the same time, this film really isn't as scary as expected. Chapter 2 is heavily reliant on loud noise jump-scares, many that aren't very unique or even effective. On top of that, the film blends more humor with character like Specs and Tucker having a stronger presence. Considering it really isn't funny, the horror is made even less effective. I like the Further scenes, and I like how the plot connects to the first, but I wish it was scarier.

Patrick Wilson is great as usual, very underrated. Rose Byrne has more energy this time around, I liked her performance. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson also perform well, but their characters aren't as funny as they think. The music in this film is fantastic, but underutilized, excluding the loud-noise jump-scares. The camerawork is engaging and helpful in building suspense. James Wan is superb as director, he knows how to build suspense and consistency; unfortunately, Wan's jump-scares aren't as experimental or creative this time.

Overall, Insidious: Chapter 2 is a great horror film. The story is creative, much more than a typical haunted house film, there are some jolting jump-scares, and some great suspense, as well. However, for everything this film does better than the first, it does something worse -- not necessarily to the point of being bad, but to the point of being, well, worse. Fans of the original's Further sequence will enjoy it the most; those looking for something like tge first two acts of the original should look elsewhere, or rent with caution.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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