“Insidious 2” picks right up where the first film ended as Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) tries to explain to a detective how Elise (Lin Shaye) wound up strangled to death. Of course, her story was hard to buy – as was the film’s story line.
It doesn’t take long before things begin to go bump in the night. Renai, her husband Josh (Patrick Wilson) and their three kids move into Josh’s mother Lorraine’s (Barbara Hershey) home to get away from the madness that ensued in the earlier film. However, the sightings, moving objects, mysterious noises and all the other things that make old homes creepy begin to rear their benevolent heads.
Soon Renai begins to realize that things aren’t what they seem but decides to simply scream a lot then drop the kids off at school just the same. The film’s real heroine is grandma Lorraine who seeks the help of Elise’s old friend Carl (Steve Coulter) in an effort to rid her family of the evil that plagues them. Along with the help of Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Simpson), they set about on a night of ghost hunting that led them to an abandoned hospital and what I presume to be a recreation of John Wayne Gacy’s home. It’s pretty scary, but they manage to answer some of their questions.
The foursome throw together a plan, which fails, and what ensues is quick and a ginormous let down – like a first marriage.
Director and writer James Wan (“The Conjuring”) and co-writer Leigh Whannell attempt to tie up loose ends from the first film, but instead dig the rabbit hole deeper as they try explaining astral projection while simultaneously interjecting time travel. The subjects are both fascinating and anything but ordinary in the horror genre, however without the aid of psychedelic drugs it became increasingly more difficult to take the movie seriously as the first one had been. The comedic relief by ghost hunters Specs and Tucker was also over-the-top and occurred far too often.
To Wan’s credit he kept the intensity level revving throughout and the jumpy moments were plentiful. But it was disappointing. It felt as though the movie could have been condensed into 15 minutes and added to the end of the first film. Weirdly, it also felt as though the film ended abruptly and much too soon, probably because it didn’t really have a climax. The very end is particularly frustrating, please no third chapter.
Ultimately the film was like your fantasy football team. You’re sure it has all of the right elements to be successful but, half way through the season, it’s a bust. “Insidious 2” had the same cast, director and even interesting twists to add to the whole genre, but it didn’t work. The first film is on Netflix, so if you’re really interested in watching the second chapter save yourself the money and have a horror night at home when the second one is released on Netflix too.
2.5 out of 5 stars
“Insidious 2” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of terror and violence, and thematic elements.