Blumhouse’s horror dream team, James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell bring us the next installment of the Insidious franchise which picks up with the events following the original’s jarring ending. In the aftermath of Elise Rainer’s (Lin Shaye) death, the Lamberts find themselves amidst an investigation. Head of the family Josh (Patrick Wilson) becomes the prime suspect of the mysterious murder. His wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and family know he didn’t do it but his return from the Further indicates he may not have come back at all.
- Director: James Wan
- Screenwriter: Leigh Whannell
- Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Steve Coulter
- Cinematography By: John R. Leonetti
- Original Music By: Joseph Bishara
Insidious Chapter 2 picks up right where the first film left off. Josh (Wilson) is taken over by the Old Woman and kills the medium Elise in order to avoid being discovered. As the family decides to stay at Josh’s childhood home, it’s obvious that whatever was haunting them isn’t done. After being saved from the Further by his dad, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) becomes more prone to seeing and hearing things, which lead him to discover that his father didn’t come back to the dismay of his wife Renai (Byrne) and mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey). Lorraine calls upon Carl (Steve Coulter) who worked with Elise to stop Josh’s ability to travel to the Further when he was younger. Along with madcap modern day ghostbusters Specks and Tucker, they contact Elise from beyond to return Josh to his body. Along the way, they discover the frightening truth as to who the Old Woman really is.
- The Story: Whannell and Wan have developed a good continuation that answers a lot of the questions. They build an entire back story that explains why Josh had been sought out by The Old Woman from an early age. These discoveries are interjected with adult Josh beginning to show a deterioration in the present day as his body rejects the foreign host which makes the progression of the story very creepy!
- Homages: The film has subtle tributes in tone and setting to a number of horror greats such as The Shining, Ghostbusters (looking at you Specs and Tucker) and even The Haunted Mansion. No, seriously that wallpaper at Lorraine’s and the seance room have total Haunted Mansion feel.
- Rose Byrne: Byrne’s motivations as Renai were very believable, the sheer horror portrayed and courageous strength to face someone under the guise of her husband was played intensely. In the past, mom characters like Wendy Torrance were seen as victims of their husbands. Byrne had so much fight to help her surmount the challenges that piled on as her family was threatened. She kicked ass!
- The Abandoned Hospital: The most defining hub of scares in the movie for the characters and us are the sequences in the Further. Chilling, creepy and frightfully fun as well as a point of strength in the backstory.
- Tone: The tone has some bumps along the way. In Insidious the first act was horrifying and the scares were chill inducing. Unfortunately, in the sequel, having Josh in the Further took away from the picture. It’s not until later (at the hospital) when shit gets real. Also, the moments of slapstick humor from Tucker and Specs that attempted to serve as comic relief, awkwardly threw off the pace and deterred the film’s progression. They’re funny and it’s great that they get very Scooby but in vital points, it wasn’t executed seamlessly. Don’t Jack Sparrow them!
- Scares: Many looked forward to more demons and scary entities like the red-faced man (Darth Maul’s grandpa) and the guy with the creepy tongue. This time around all we got were the creepy-frozen-smile-faced people. Sequences with them were done well but the build up to their reveal was underwhelming.
- Dubbing: Did Lin Shaye dub over the voice of the actress playing young Elise? It took away from those moments because it’s obviously apparent that something is off. Watching to see if the voice matched the lips was distracting! Young Lorraine sounds NOTHING like Barbara Hershey–so why dub over the younger Elise? She sounded way older in comparison and it just felt like it wasn’t her voice. It was very off putting.
Insidious Chapter 2 is solid in the story department and a very thought out sequel. It’s not as scary as the first but frightening in a different way. This installment seals the Lambert family saga without dragging it out. It’s impressive that the following “Chapters” will be able to go to different places with new characters while staying within the Insidious universe.
The Rating: 9/10
Insidious Chapter 2 opens September 13.
Will you be seeing Insidious Chapter 2 this weekend?