Review: Insidious – Chapter 2 / Cert: 15 / Director: James Wan / Screenplay: Leigh Whannell / Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell / Released: 6th January
Picking up after the events of James Wan’s first Insidious film, the second chapter sees the Lambert family trying to pick up the pieces after their encounter with the supernatural. Whilst the police investigate their house, Josh (Wilson) and Renai (Byrne) temporarily move in with Josh’s mother, Lorraine (Hershey). Unfortunately, it appears that things are still just as spooky, if not more so, as a woman in white is seemingly haunting the Lambert family. Adding to all of this, Josh doesn’t seem to be acting quite like himself, and Renai is left with no other option but to turn to Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), experts in the field and familiar with the events of the first film, to try and find some answers.
The first Insidious was a great horror film, and you’d think that the second installment would be even better as there’s need for any sort of origin and mass-introduction of characters. Whilst Insidious: Chapter 2 is a solid, atmospheric spook-fest, it never quite manages to reach the heights of its predecessor. Not to worry, as by that I don’t mean that it’s a horrendous movie. Far from it, Insidious: Chapter 2 is a decent enough effort. Just if you’re looking for something to top Insidious then you’ll be left a little disappointed. As a companion piece of sorts, the sequel works just fine, though.
Similar in tone to the first movie, there’s a sinister, underlying threat throughout Insidious: Chapter 2 and the action, for lack of a better word, comes thick and fast. One of the main differences between the sequel and Wan’s first film is that Insidious: Chapter 2 has a quicker pace about it at times, for better or for worse. There are flashback scenes to Josh’s childhood, but even those feel sharp and progressive. That said, half of the original film’s charms lay in its delicate approach.
With so many of the cast reprising their roles from the first movie, we’re given a lot more of the same on that front. Whannell and Sampson’s Specs and Tucker serve as the light-relief at times, but they still serve a strong purpose through the main arc of the story. As the family Lambert, Wilson, Byrne, Hersey and Simpkins all do well with what is on their plate. In particular, young Ty Simpkins is great as the youngest of the Lambert clan. One complaint I do have, though, relates to Patrick Wilson. In this outing, his character, Josh, is a tad deranged and clearly suffering from the events of the first movie. Wilson ends up playing this just too over-the-top for my liking. It comes across as him doing a poor impression of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
All in all, in a world of sequels, remakes and reboots, Insidious: Chapter 2 stands its ground as a solid, above-average horror movie. Having more freedom than the original film, it appears that the sequel sometimes gets a little lost as to what to do with itself, with its mind often moving too quickly for its legs to keep up with. Still, fans of the first movie will find it an enjoyable, if not a tad unnecessary, addition to the series.
Leigh Whannell has already confirmed that he is currently working on an Insidious 3 that will move away from the Lambert family, so, for now at least, this sequel brings the Lambert family’s story to a close. Now let’s see what Whannell can dish up with some new ingredients.
Extras: Three Featurettes / Leigh Whannell’s Insidious Journal / On Set Q & A / Three Webisodes