Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)

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Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell

Directed by James Wan

So, you’ve seen the first installment of Insidious and you’ve seen the smash hit haunted house horror roller coaster ride called The Conjuring. Congratulations! Now, that you’ve walked trepidatiously along that path, your reward is to bear witness to Insidious: Chapter 2, a sequel that tries to entertain as much as the first installment but also aims to completely annihilate the tried but true construct of the typical ghost story. That sounds like a bold endeavor, but it seems like director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell are hell bent on blowing their original concept completely out of the water.

The Lambert family has just undergone one of the most hellish experiences any one family could possibly endure, but what happens if what you think is the end is actually just the beginning? Josh (Patrick Wilson) begs his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) to just ignore all of the continuing oddities within the household, so the usual jump scares and setups that were effective in the first installment play out as a joke that should be ignored at all costs. As a result, the scares that were effective in the first film become a minor annoyance in the first reel of Insidious: Chapter 2, almost as if Wan himself is bored with what is quickly becoming a construct instead of a legitimate foundation.

Early on, it’s obvious that Wan and Whannell are attempting to reinvent the haunted house formula by adding on a subplot that delves into the family’s past instead of just dealing with the usual tropes of a family terrorized. The concept of The Further is expanded upon, revealing a deeper family history that dovetails nicely with Josh’s past and his mother (Barbara Hershey) and how her associations actually springboard another sinister character that haunts the Lamberts even more deeply than that somewhat laughable demon from the first installment.

The first half hour of Insidious: Chapter 2 would have been a great setup for a haunted house movie, but with the first film’s success, Wan and Whannell are smart enough to turn the tables on the now tiresome aspects of a story revolving around a family haunted. They exhausted almost all of their camera tricks in the first installment and then Wan made The Conjuring, limiting their options even more.

As a result, Insidious: Chapter 2 feels more like a giant middle finger pointed at the audience instead of a genuine interest to continue on with the Lambert legacy. Wan and Whannell used this sequel as an opportunity to lambast the haunted house subgenre, and as a result, the initial scares fall flat and feel tired, and the manic plot doesn’t reinvent the genre as much as it actively tries to torpedo it.

2 out of 5

Discuss Insidious: Chapter 2 in the comments section below!

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  • kiddcapone

    I don’t quite get this review, but whatever, ‘You are not brought upon this world to get it, Mr Burton…’.

    For me, I enjoyed it. Sure, there was a few moments that I rolled my eyes slightly embarrassed that they went there, but for the most part, I was entertained from start to finish.

    I was impressed how they tied the two films together, I enjoyed the backstory of the bride in black, and most importantly, I was never bored. During the opening credits I noticed Oren Peli was a producer, and as soon as the couple video scenes played, I sat in my seat giggling to myself, “yep, that reeks of Peli”….

    In this day and age, I’d take anything Whannell and Wan offers up in the horror genre.

    Insidious 2: 3/5.

    • frank_dracman

      The review seemed…off. Rushed, maybe? A “we need a review so let’s throw this up” sort of thing? Anyway…

      I thought it started out strong, had our interest then somewhere in the middle it lost it. I was bored, wondering what the arcade had to offer and then all of a sudden the movie picked right up again. I was totally into it. I loved how it all came together full circle. I had low expectations for this one so it did take me by surprise as I wasn’t trying to second guess the movie.

      Then they put that goofy “Mother of God” scene at the end. It wasn’t a deal breaker or anything, guess they have to keep this terror train moving somehow. I liked it way more than The Conjuring, that’s for damn sure.

      All things considered, I’ll agree with your 3/5.

      • Uncle Creepy

        I’d give it a 3 out of 5 as well, and Frank, we NEVER rush a review just to have one.

        • frank_dracman

          You guys have some of the best written reviews on the internets. Insightful, in depth, and in Foy’s case pretty funny. This one seemed lacking, in length and content. I was expecting more from a high profile movie like this one. I guess we all have our favorite reviewers.

          • Uncle Creepy

            Thanks man. You’re kinda sexy too. 😉

  • Count Zartro

    I liked the movie. I thought they did a good job of continuing the story and not repeating the first movie.

    Also they didn’t cop out to the ending of the first movie, we got to see what happened.

    I do agree with the dubbing of Lin’s voice, that could and should have been avoided, no way someone that young sounds like that.

    I think that this type of sequel works great when watching it right after the first movie as it’s more of a direct continuation.

  • Uncle Creepy

    Having just seen it I gotta admit I enjoyed it. It wasn’t great and it certainly is NOT without its problems, but overall I had some fun with it.

    I’d hardly call it a middle finger to the audience, and it didn’t torpedo a damned thing or lambast the haunted house subgenre. Honestly I really don’t get what it did so differently from any other sequel that everyone’s talking about.

    Insidious Chapter 2’s one true shining moment was the stuff blending it with the original film. This was pulled off brilliantly.

    The worst things I could say about it are … the concept of The Further was a cool one and to see it used as nothing more than a hotbed for horror cliches here was disappointing. We’ve seen this type of film over and over again, just never blended with a supernatural twist. Unfortunately said twist didn’t exactly spice things up or make it feel fresh.

    The film’s BIGGEST problem to me was the pointless dubbing of Lin Shaye’s voice over that of the younger actress who was playing her character in the 80’s. Hearing an older woman’s voice repeatedly coming out of a young lady’s mouth took me out of the experience each and every time. At some points for me it was like old Godzilla movie level bad.

    All things considered I’m lingering somewhere between a 2 1/2 to 3 out of 5.

    • secretmonk

      Well said, Creepy! Thanks for your thoughts!

    • LSD Zombie

      How did The Further lead to horror cliches exactly? I know there were some nods to Psycho and The Shining, if that’s what you’re referring to.

      • Uncle Creepy

        That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

        • LSD Zombie

          I wasn’t bothered by those scenes at all. In fact, they only enhanced my enjoyment of the movie.

  • nonserviam03

    It’s definitely not as good as the first one or The Conjuring, but I enjoyed it. It’s different, which I think puts a lot of people off.

    I do feel like the stuff with the Further felt a lot less out of place this time.

  • Screamz

    I rather enjoyed it. It’s not without its faults, but I thoroughly entertained. I will agree that the scares do fall flat this time, but most films fail to make me jump so I won’t dock any points for that. Not as good as the original or The Conjuring, but it ain’t bad…

  • Uncle Creepy

    I haven’t seen this one yet, but from all the reactions I’ve read it’s pretty polarizing. Some people hate it. Some people dug it. And some people… Well some are just confused. Can’t wait to see where I fall.

    As for the review itself, I’ve said it 100 times, reviews are guides not gospel. The only opinion you can truly trust is your own.

  • secretmonk

    Just saw it and for the most part disagree with this review. It’s a pity the review doesn’t expand on the imagery or spunk of the second film, a lot of which chilled me and thrilled me, and for the past 17 years I’ve made it my mission to consume all horror movies ever made. I don’t ever comment on these boards even though I’ve been following you all since the Butane/Rotten days of yore. I love you guys, and I check this site rabidly every day. I suppose I should warn of light spoilers to follow:

    I enjoyed the different tone of this movie and thought it expanded the world of the first movie cleverly, in a way that said, “We created this fun world and these characters in the first movie and now we’re going to just play around and see what we can shake up.” And maybe I’m a sucker because I love the first one so much I’d forgive a lot just to see these characters do more stuff. There were some very odd choices made here: the decision to dub in Lin Shaye’s voice at the beginning, yet leave Jocelin Donahue’s voice as her own and not use Barbara Hershey’s. I’ll take as much Lin Shaye as I can get, but this distracted me a little. I found myself watching Lindsay Seim try to sync her lip movements when she should have been allowed to use her own voice. Her facial expressions are fantastic!

    I thought the actress playing the evil mother was a disappointment. A theatrical style works for me to some degree since this world is so heightened, but her performance was all theatrics with no real humanity. I thought the backstory here was so delicious, it bordered on Sleepaway Camp; they had a chance to go for an R-rated self-castration scene that could have amped up the intensity. And I’m not really a gorehound, but I was kind of expecting to see a de-peening.

    Anyway, I could talk for awhile, but I’ve said enough and I’m tired. EXCEPT: I got chills when they linked a scene in this movie to one that happened in the first movie. I was totally floored, even if Drew and others weren’t. But I deeply appreciated that Wan and Whannell gave me a new way of looking at the first movie, even if it’s just in a specific scene or two. Maybe that’s why I liked this movie so much; it makes me love the first one even more.

    I think great story-telling is happening in this movie, most of the time. I give Insidious Chapter Two 3.5 Bloody Knives.

  • addeisdead

    I was reading this review and thinking, “Wow, this guy apparently thinks they did something really clever with this movie.” And then I scrolled down and saw the rating he gave it and went back to see what the last paragraph had to say. Talk about passive-aggressive.

    • Drew Blood

      I really like the fact that Wan and Whannell really hit for the fences, but I felt like it was too jumbled even though it was ambitious. Like I said, it felt like two people that wanted to move on so they just put everything they could think of into this sequel. It is fun, but it’s not scary and instead of being experimental it comes off as being a little lazy and convoluted.

      • addeisdead

        I can understand that. The review just seemed extremely positive at first, and then it caught me off guard at the end. I was starting to get excited about it (even though that demon in the first one made me laugh more than anything).