Insidious Chapter 2

Brent Bader, IVLEADER Editor

Insidious Chapter 2 is the follow-up to the well-received Insidious and, while it’s not a complete miss, the scares and haunting scenes fail to live up to its predecessor.

Director James Wan has returned with Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne reprising their roles as Josh and Renai Lambert, a couple who just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to paranormal visitations.  The film is a direct sequel to the first film and picks up right where the original left off, with their son free of the evil spirits that were attempting to possess him but the same could not be said for Josh.

With this film being a direct sequel to an already deep first film, which details many different supernatural elements, it can be difficult for new viewers to jump directly into this film.  Not only are those previously set-up elements only briefly explained but they also throw a few more elements into the mix such as pseudo-time travel abilities.  Insidious veterans themselves may become lost as even the established rules of the already complicated idea of an afterlife, or the “Further” as it’s called in this series, become blurred in order to serve the complex plot.

Most of the main cast returns for this installment and they all play the roles accordingly.  Wilson and Byrne make up around half of the film this time around and they’re performances are sort of hit or miss this time around.  Byrne seems to always be either curiously looking around or screaming while Wilson’s portrayal of a man at odds with himself comes off as overacted at times but on occasion you can tell the actor is genuinely enjoying himself during one of the tenser moments near the film’s climax.

Barbra Hershey gets a larger role this time around as Rose’s mother and ventures into her own subplot when trying to investigate the origin of the new spirit that haunts Josh’s life.  This subplot proves to be more interesting than the main story, perhaps due to its uniqueness from the original film.

The film attempts to recreate the uneasy tension that dominated most of the first two-thirds of the original film, but in doing so it sort of relies on old tactics like objects moving on their own and in doing so it never really feels all that different from the original.  The scenes themselves also rely on numerous jump scares that are as predictable as they are annoying.  A few scenes have a great low music score to accompany them, but when the filmmakers want us to realize something is wrong they play this obnoxious loud musical theme that feels almost comical in its use.

Insidious Chapter 2 is not a bad movie, it just feels unnecessary.  A lot of the film seems dedicated to recapturing what made the first one unique, but feels like an odd half-sequel because of it.  The new editions to the series feel flat and don’t meld well with the already established cannon.  There are a few moments that are genuinely creepy and unnerving, the film as a whole feels like more of the same making Insidious Chapter 2 feel more like Insidious 1.5.