Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Insidious: Chapter 2

Release date: September 13, 2013
Running time: 105 minutes
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
Who to see it with: Fans of supernatural horror and/or The Conjuring


After a brief flashback and a chat with a detective that briefly summarizes the last film's ending, Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up right where the first left off. Despite moving in with Josh's (Wilson) mom, the Lambert family is still being disturbed by strange events and unwanted visions. The story begins very similarly to the first, slowly building tension with mysterious noises and abrupt musical cues. The scratchy violin musical score also returns. It feels very familiar, though the circumstances differ in the wake of the original's grim ending. The story begins to stand on its own after the first act, when a character's bizarre behavior convinces the family to seek further professional paranormal help. Insidious spent nearly all of its first two acts within the Lamberts' homes. This time, they team with the paranormal investigators to investigate a few dark, creepy places, seeking the true source of their troubles. The first film's comical investigative duo have more prominent roles this time, lightening the mood with their relatively grounded attitudes and reactions to the horror.

A common complaint about director James Wan's last two films, Insidious and The Conjuring, is that their increasingly strange final acts are less effective than their slower paced beginnings. The supernatural elements of IC2 are more prevalent than in either film, so those viewers may be even less satisfied than before. At least they're depicted very stylishly and serve unexpected purposes, explaining some of the original's mysteries and creatively tying together certain events. Like the first act, it feels familiar, except that the events and resolution are even stranger than last time (along with reminding me of a certain 80's horror film that I won't name because it could be a spoiler). IC2 often feels like it's covering the same ground but in different ways. The original's ending was satisfyingly dark with creepy implications, but this follow-up is somewhat dulled by a sense of deja vu that makes the story's continuation seem unnecessary. Insidious: Chapter 2 sometimes feels like a retread of the first, but fans will enjoy taking another tense trip into its stylish supernatural world.

Rent it.

I hadn't seen the first movie, so I appreciated the beginning recap of some of the events. As the title implies, Insidious: Chapter 2 feels like a continuation of the first InsidiousIC2 at some points has an 80's feel, with an Evil Dead-style loud introduction, some slightly corny acting, and intense zooms to highlight certain events. One thing I noticed, and definitely appreciated, was the phenomenal lighting and attention to detail. There is something red in every scene, from a red light, to a red lampshade, to some piece of red furniture; it's a small detail but for some reason when you see that bit of red, it makes you anticipate something will happen soon. Later in the film, the story line breaks into two intertwining stories that were off-putting at first, but I eventually liked the variety and how the two threads affected each other. Most of the characters of the film were fun to watch, but the slightly bumbling ghost hunters with their comedic lines felt a little out of place; however they did have some scenes that caused me to smile. Overall, I liked the film and definitely like James Wan's attempt to craft more atmospheric and tense horror movies. Unfortunately, it's not as amazing as the recently released The Conjuring

Rent it.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to know that it does a recap. Possibly seeing the movie this weekend, but I haven't seen the first one. At least it seems entertaining enough.