REVIEW: INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2
SYNOPSIS: A haunted family struggles to uncover a terrifying secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world in Insidious: Chapter 2, the latest nerve-twisting horror thriller from director James Wan
REVIEW: Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson return as Renai and Josh Lambert, in this latest Oren Peli, Jason Blum production. Having said that, I must give credit where credit is due. Something can be said for director James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring) and screenwriter Leigh Whannell (Saw, Dead Silence); that the Insidious franchise is not a series which relies on blood and gore for cheap thrills, but is more reliant on extremely disturbing and unsettling imagery, sounds and antagonists. The two have found an interesting if not cliché niche, which allows them to pay homage to old-style haunted house movies, like Poltergeist (1982), whilst saying something new, in terms of plot and storyline.
Admittedly, this sounds like more of the same, and it is to some extent. Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up the story at the very moment we left it in the first installment, and expects its audience to have a detailed understanding of the first film’s characters and rulebook. Anyone who does [remember part one] might feel a jolt of disappointment that the plot is even less convincing this time around, and it does become slightly bogged down as Renai (Byrne), her mother-in-law (Barbara Hershey) and a team of ghost-hunters engage in some “Scooby-Doo-like” detective work. However, the scares are mostly pretty scary indeed, and that means this Oren Peli effort does its job. Where they do make missteps in this sequel is their confusing plot and use of weird questionable sequences that seem to repeat over and over, again and again.
Overall, I would say one should be under no illusions that this Chapter 2 has any real sophistication to its plot. It is a very basic scary flick, with all the usual haunting-style dialogue and predictable, over-the-top setups which sorta’ follows up on part one. Somehow it does lack its subtlety, though. So in that sense, I would say that they attempted to ramp it up a bit more here. The cast themselves are likeable enough and no matter how ludicrous things get as a horror flick, there are laughs to be found during the 105 minute play time. Any scene with Patrick Wilson or Rose Byrne, for instance, screams ‘something bad is about to happen.’ They both convey such great emotions with their body language, expressions and demeanor.
Obviously I wasn’t overly impressed with this latest release and would only recommend it for theater viewing for the hardcore horror flick follower, whom might have already seen part one. A DVD rental would probable suffice, with this one. Three out of five stars is probably being generous here, but collectively, the movie is quite scary and works for the most part.
By Movi-Man Stan
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