Movie Reviews

Published on September 13th, 2013 | by gareth

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Insidious: Chapter 2

By Joseph Saulnier

The throwback horror genre travels beyond the limits of time and space in Insidious: Chapter 2 (let’s just call it Insidious 2), where one evil spirit haunts a family using two tin cans connected with a string. Does that statement sound a little ridiculous? Then you know the overall feeling of Insidious 2. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the charm of this movie comes from how ludicrous it gets at times.

Saw co-creator James Wan is still on a mission to distance himself from the “torture porn” genre by making scary movies that rely more on practical effects and smart direction. Insidious 2 has a few memorable moments to it, coupled with a willing cast and experienced crew, but it really succeeds more with the humor of the situations, and the humor in the script provided for the audience. It works in this manner given that it is pretty much the first film, minus the element of surprise.

Insidious 2 picks up right where the first film ended. The writers actually did a good job continuing the story without it being too insane, and we get to learn more about Josh Lambert’s past and who the spirits are that were haunting the Lambert’s. The aforementioned cans on a string are part of the fresh hell the writers cooked up for the eldest son, Dalton. As if he didn’t suffer enough in the last film.

On a technical level, the film does well. Much like The Conjuring, the camera work becomes more urgent and threatening as the horror builds The piano-heavy scoring is appropriately menacing, and ties into the plot in a subtle, yet meaningful, way. Production design was strong, as it should be for any good horror film.

But the man that steals the show is Patrick Wilson, who plays a convincing possessed dad on the level of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Add to that a strong performance from Barbara Hershey, and you have a winning combo to carry the movie practically on their shoulders. Not that the acting talents of Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannel and Angus Sampson are deficient, but any scene they share with Wilson or Hershey kind of swallows them up.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a modern horror film if the film was not left with a lead-in to the next film; though, if there is an Insidious: Chapter 3, I wouldn’t expect to see the Lambert family returning. But I wouldn’t expect to see Insidious: Chapter 3 before director James Wan finished Fast & Furious 7 and, presumably, The Conjuring 2.

As a horror movie, I wouldn’t rate it very high. But as I found myself amused and laughing at points, I realized that it was really, really enjoyable as result. I would definitely recommend it to the non-hardcore genre enthusiasts.

3.5 stars out of 5

Second Review by James Sabata.

Following the events of Insidious, the Lambert family moves into Josh’s mother’s home to try to recover. It quickly becomes apparent that something is horribly wrong with Josh (if you saw the original, you know what it is). The family must venture back into The Further in order to save him.

THE NAME:
Chapter 2 is a strange title for a movie. Usually it’s part two, or just 2. This time, it makes a lot of sense, as this is clearly the second half of the first movie. Many parts of the first movie are better explained in this movie. It is truly the second half of the plot, not another installment that has the same characters and nothing else.

THE GOOD:

James Wan and Leigh Wannell know how to make you jump. Patrick Wilson’s portrayal of a man wasting away is unsettling. Lyn Shaye is great once again. Specks and Tucker not only make up for being “slightly annoying” in the first movie, but became one of my favorite parts of this film. The juxtaposition of these two making the audience laugh really helps to play into some of the horror, as the laughter quickly comes to an end. Also, that skinny Darth Maul Demon is nowhere to be found.

THE BAD:

This movie requires you to have a decent knowledge of the first movie, using several scenes from that movie in this one. The acting in parts of the movie really drew me out of it. This was particularly true during the first five minutes of the film. The movie does not necessarily follow a chronological order, and while I did not find it hard to follow, others might not feel the same way. My biggest complaint with the movie though is that there is too much humor. Even some framing of shots (particularly of Josh) seems intended to be humorous, making it even harder to take this plot seriously.

OVERALL

I am a big fan of this franchise. I know I’m not in the majority with that. That being said, I think if you saw the first, you should see the second Insidious: Chapter Two does its job. It adds to the story. It makes you jump. Either way, you’ll leave talking about it.

3 out of 5.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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