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Film Review: Insidious Chapter 2

Written by Laura Dengrove


With summer coming to an end, the cool air won’t be the only thing leaving a chill up your spine … and not in a good way. James Wan is back with his sequel to the 2010 hit Insidious, but this time around it leaves you feeling a bit cold.

The original Insidious told a story of a small suburban family moving into a big home with their small brewd. All seems dandy, that is until the eldest boy is put into a coma by an unseen force. With the lives of the family shaken, things only continue to get stranger as objects appear in random spots, dead children begin to play in the living room, and a demon appears to be watching over the little boy as he is confined to his hospital bed in the house. The more original concept of *Spoiler Alert* the child being haunted and not the house was a refreshing change of pace and the scares continue to come full force as the movie progressed. The real lead in the movie was Patrick Wilson, who plays Josh, the father. Wilson captivates when he is on screen and his journey to find his son in the spirit realm is an exciting one. The visuals in the first were nice for the budget they had, and the writing was fantastic. Too bad the sequel does not have nearly as much steam as the first.

Insidious Chapter 2 movie opens up right where the last one ended, but with less enthusiasm by the actors and enough cheesy horror music to kill your eardrums. The central plot in this movie has us wondering — was it truly Josh that came back from the spirit world, or was it something else? The cliffhanger from the first film had Josh acting very unlike himself, should have left some great material and room to run with for the writers, but it feels very stale.

The concept went from a very original idea, to a more campy and predictable one. The scares were still good, but it all felt too familiar. One of the main villains in the film was reminiscent of the late and great Norman Bates of Psycho, and to be honest Psycho has done it, and will continue to do it better every time. No film should ever try to copy Psycho, it will only leave people feeling empty. Insidious Chapter 2 has similar “scare patterns” to the first film except this time each scare and jolt you could see coming from a mile away. The genius of the first film was that you couldn’t see these scares coming. That’s what made Insidious so amazing, the fact that everything happened when you least expected it to happen. With this film, the stories felt too rushed and didn’t make much sense. One scene you would be in one place and in the next scene you would be in another place and putting it all together just made it a bit messy.

The campier side of the film truly put a damper on all the scary fun that could be had. It seems that in horror sequels that the writers tend to realize that the comic relief they interjected into the first film was a major part of what made their first film so popular. With that thought in mind, they tend to go way overboard in the subsequent sequels. A little camp goes a long way but too much just ruins things.

The comic relief in the original Insidious came from two rather humorous male characters — two ghost hunters played by Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson. Including them in the movie was a great move by the writers. This time around their great timing and chemistry was still there, but their roles seemed to be a bit out of place almost like the writers wanted to shove them back into the sequel. The writers are also to blame for the ample amount of unintentional comedy in the film. They wrote scenes that were supposed to be serious and or scary, yet put the actors in goofy surroundings or gave them ridiculous things to carry. To cut the writers some slack — the actors tended to over act a bit in these scenes.

Speaking of acting, this was another thing that led to the downfall of Insidious Chapter 2. Rose Byrne, who plays Renai, the mother of the children was so over the top dramatic that it was cringeworthy. It was a shame to watch this, since she was so convincing in the first film. Patrick Wilson shined in this movie, sure there were a few over-the-top scenes, but more often than not he was a show stealer. He made the movie fun to watch, for a little bit at least.

All in all the movie is bearable. The plot may be a bit messy and the film is on the campy side of horror, but if you are in the mood to just see a movie on a rainy day it could be on the suggestion list. Just take the movie for what it is, just a horror sequel. It will offer up a few cheap scares and some good laughs, but that’s about it. It’s not a game changer, just an extension of one from a few years back.

Laura Dengrove
Laura Dengrove
Hello! My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.


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