Insidious Chapter 2 Movie Review
James Wan is back with his second horror film of the year, because that's just what James Wan does. Scary but not as scary as the original, entertaining but not as entertaining as the original, the cleverly but not at all cleverly titled sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 has some good scares but lacks the intensity you'd expect from the blossoming franchise.
At the end of the first Insidious (SPOILER), Patrick Wilson (who also starred in Wan's other 2013 horror film The Conjuring) was trapped in the shadow world while a creepy ghost lady possessed his body. Skip ahead to the sequel and on-screen wife Rose Byrne is having a grand old team sleeping with Creepy Ghost Lady, until all kinds of strange stuff starts to happen again.
The first half of Insidious: Chapter 2 plays out much like the first movie did, with creepy things happening in increasing amounts until all hell unleashes. Wan maintains a high level of tension and with sweeping camera angles and a superb understanding of how to get under your skin, generally manages to freak you out more than once.
The second half, unfortunately, largely loses this intensity for whatever reason, the whatever reason being a stronger reliance of characters entering the shadow world - the least scariest part of the first movie - and the odd addition of cheesy humor that lightens the mood way too much. The ending plays out too much like The Shining, and investigators Specs and Tucker (writer Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) don't fit with the tone of the movie. The jokes are mildly funny, but I didn't come to Insidious to laugh - I came to the movie to pee myself scared.
Despite its shortcomings, Insidious: Chapter 2 is fast-paced, entertaining and at times quite scary. It is far superior to its predecessor, but as far as horror sequels go, it could have been a lot worse.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.