North Texas Daily

Review: “Insidious: Chapter 2”

Review: “Insidious: Chapter 2”

Review: “Insidious: Chapter 2”
September 12
19:21 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

Rating: 2.5/5

Back in 2010, the first chapter of “Insidious” managed to pull off a rare thing in a genre over-saturated with jump-scares and gore: actually scare people. Before the film lost traction in its final third and turned into a “Poltergeist” knock-off, it contained more than enough scares to satisfy any fan of the haunted house sub genre. “Insidious: Chapter 2” follows this milestone of horror and returns to formula— the wrong formula. This immediate sequel has a few good points, but it is otherwise a nightmare in the wrong way.

Directly following the events of the first picture, “Insidious: Chapter 2,” starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, follows the haunted Lambert family as they look to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them gravely connected to the spirit world.

Director James Wan, director of the first “Insidious” and this year’s even more impressive horror flick, “The Conjuring,” guided these films with a deft hand, clearly showing that “less is more” is still terrifyingly effective. Both “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” were memorable because they didn’t turn to cheap frights, loud noises and ghostly jump scares. Instead, they invested tons of screen time in tension and character development, culminating in genuine fear when the scares exploded off screen. In “Chapter 2,” however, Wan and his screenwriting buddy Leigh Whannel (“Saw,” 2004), co-starring in the film as a paranormal investigator named Specs, ditch their previous restraint to the dismay of audiences.

Unfortunately, “Chapter 2” relies heavily on lurching ghosts and loud noises from haunted objects, such as an obnoxious, light-up baby walker. The flick suffers from rushed and artificial sequelitis, having traded the patient, well-paced habits of its predecessor and “The Conjuring” for the cookie-cutter fare dominating Hollywood’s current crop of horror. The disappointment is all the worse for Wan and his filming crew’s respectable filmography.

Ultimately, “Chapter 2” is a clever complement to its older brother, smartly correcting some of the plot holes in “Insidious” while still delivering some chilling moments, but catching “The Conjuring” at the dollar theater or renting the original is probably a better use of your time.

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