The original Insidious was basically a mishmash of different story elements of many supernatural thriller, Chapter 2 firmly borrows from Poltergeist, The Shining and Amityville Horror. It plays very heavily off of the foundations of the original film, which managed to be dark, scary and huge amounts of fun. Chapter 2 is basically the same thing with handful of other nuts and bolts thrown in for good measure. It’s good fun, but is more of the same enough to make it a good sequel?
We start right where we left off, with Josh returning from the “further” with a dark friend in tow. The murder of fan favorite Elise Rainier is under way and Josh and family are all under suspicion. With a new character Carl thrown in to replace spiritual Elise. It’s very familiar but also lacks and real originality. Like many of the supernatural films that have been out in the past few years or so, the story line is never the strongest point of the movie. I always enjoyed Insidious story, however, chapter 2 just seems to lose focus and what it wants to do, throwing a while host of different events at the audience, from a location to location ghost hunt to another trip into the Further. It’s all a little too much and does not really feel part of the previous films story. I think the real challenge here was bringing the two stories together, and the best they could do was a couple of flash backs and a little bit of supernatural time travel. Whilst at first you’ll think the films been quite clever, it’s not until much later that you realise that most of the set up for the “time travel” sections was done within this second chapter, with there only being one section from the original that they revisited.
Like the original, its scares mostly rely in hard orchestral stabs to enhance the jump scare they throw in, however like in the original, there are some genuinely scary bits, which is nice to see in a modern horror. The villain of the piece, this time round, is the mysterious lady in black from the first film. This disturbed spirit is firmly set on taking over Josh, just like the devil creature wanted Dalton in the original. There are plenty of other spooks in tow, and some really creepy moments involving a baby walker. Once again travelling into the “further” , wee are introduced to a whole host of other spooks, some familiar others new, but all just as creepy and nasty as the originals further residence.
Insidious Chapter 2 is the Back to the Future 2 of the horror world, taking familiar characters and scenarios and revisiting them from a different angle.
The best thing about the original movie was Lin Shay’s chipper character Elise Rainier. Of course, after the events of the first film, it seemed unlikely that Elise would even be i this film. However, being a movie about ghosts and the supernatural, they of course found a way to shoe horn the character in. We also get glimpses of a younger Elise, played by another actress but still voiced by Shay. To be honest, i found it a little odd and distracting. To be honest, Chapter 2’s nether is a little confusing. In the original, it was a place of spirits and demons, kind of like a little spiritual waiting room , where troubled spirits relive their deaths over and over. In Chapter 2, it’s mix match of different things, dreams and spirits and time travel, it’s all a little messy.
Insidious tries to capture the magic from the original, but unfortunately falls short. James Wan once again shows his brilliance at film making, but with all his lovingly framed shots and careful editing, you cant help but feel as if you have seen it all before. Whilst Insidious felt fresh, Chapter 2 is just a little to familiar, and for a horror film, that’s not good. I felt that I said all i needed to about the cast in my last review, and they delivered pretty much the same here, with awfully delivered lines and annoying predictability which leaves you a little annoyed. Once again Lin Sahye shines and I’m glad that the next movie, a prequel this time around, will concentrate on her character.
Despite my negative review, Chapter 2 is a good film. It’s enjoyable and scary, and that’s enough. It’s firm chapter in the soon to be trilogy and certainly a film you can re-watch easily enough, even if it is a little un-original.
- Overall Score 45% 45%