James Wan‘s Insidious Chapter 2 is that rare horror sequel that actually has something to say. Most sequels, especially horror, tend to get rushed into production after the success of the first film. This usually causes the plot to be thin and the general overall purpose of the film to only be a cash grab or shallow horror experience, full of cheap scares and not much of anything else. But Insidious Chapter 2 goes boldly were very few horror sequels go and the result is something that’s both similar to the first film and yet drastically different. It continues the story and takes the characters in a brand-new direction. James Wan‘s Insidious Chapter 2 is in-your-face horror that’s scary and intelligently written.
Josh (Patrick Wilson), Renai (Rose Byrne) and the rest of their family experienced a traumatizing event in Insidious. Their family was haunted by an entity that wanted to take over their son’s body and crossover into the living world. They sorted it out, with the help of past paranormal investigating friends. Or at least they thought they did.
Discussing Insidious Chapter 2 is extremely hard without ruining Insidious, so just know that this film follows the first one almost minutes after the stunning conclusion. So if you’ve seen Insidious then all you need to know is that Insidious Chapter 2 continues following the family as they move back with Josh’s mother and dig deeper into his past and the past of those around him, in hopes of finding answers as to why their family is getting bullied by these nasty evil spirits.
Insidious Chapter 2 is a remarkable achievement for horror director James Wan. Firstly, Wan’s managed to basically reinvent mainstream horror in ways that other directors can only dream of. Saw proved to be a worthy gore-fest, full of twists and turns, while Insidious and The Conjuring managed to be well-shot spooky and atmospheric horror films, full of slow-burn tension and drama.
No one had any idea how Wan was going to be able to follow up with Insidious Chapter 2, yet he does so in a glorious fashion. Most thought Wan burned out his horror welcome, including myself, who thought The Conjuring was well-made, but still just a rehash of Insidious.
Yet Insidious Chapter 2 truly does represent the next chapter for what could be a new series. Wan has somehow managed to make a horror sequel that doesn’t rely solely on the previous film’s good check-marks to once again win over the audiences. Insidious was all about slow build up and atmospheric shots, which resulted in bone-chilling scares that mostly came out of nowhere, but also relied on strong music and sense of pacing to help get you to that point.
Insidious Chapter 2 is definitely a more frightening picture in the sense that it just throws everything at you without much warning. It’s a much more in-your-face approach to horror that gives an equal amount of creepy and unsettling images, while also never letting go and making room for a dull spot. Insidious Chapter 2 moves much quicker, yet it never sacrifices its story, which is unheard of for most sequels.
Here, Wan expands on The Further in a way that makes you re-think the first film, while also looking forward to whatever else this series has to offer. Wan smartly ties together all loose ends, while also making Insidious Chapter 2 its own film, with a few new characters and a story that looks back, while at the same time establishes more grounds and still moves forward.
Does Insidious Chapter 2 suffer from a spot or two of so-so acting or a few dud jump scares? Yes, yes it does. But does most of it work around those minor speed bumps to make way for a film that actually has something to say? Yes!
Insidious Chapter 2 is James Wan coming full circle as a horror director. He’s gotten the bloody R-rated gore out of the way with Saw and he found a sweet spot with atmospheric horror with Insidious and The Conjuring and now he’s attempting to push the genre to new heights with Insidious Chapter 2. Here he’s not afraid to blend in a little science fiction and comedy into the works, while also keeping horror the front and center attraction.
The result mostly pays off, giving us something that is similar to Insidious, yet so very different.
Insidious Chapter 2 leaves us at an interesting crossroad for James Wan as a filmmaker. Now, he’s moving onto action with Fast & Furious 7. I think this is a good thing, because Insidious Chapter 2 is a great way to leave horror behind for a while. I do hope he returns to the genre if he has something else to say, but I’d also like to see him tackle something new and fresh, much like his little stint with Death Sentence, which is by far one of my favorite revenge flicks.
See Insidious Chapter 2 if you enjoyed the first one for its well-timed scares and creative approach to the haunted house/person topic of modern horror. Don’t expect a film that plays out the exact same and instead prepare for something that journeys into the unknown and takes a few more risks in hopes of making you think a little bit more before the much-needed scares and spooks.
Insidious Chapter 2 – 7.5/10