After the success of Insidious in 2011, it seemed like a sensible decision to go for a sequel since the first movie was kind of open ended anyway. Insidious Chapter 2, produced by Oren Peli of Paranormal Activity fame and directed by James Wan, who also helmed great horror films like Dead Silence and The Conjuring, explores Josh Hamilton’s past, uncovers the mystery behind the black woman, and ties up loose ends left by the first movie.
When Josh (Patrick Wilson) returns from The Further after successfully saving his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) from evil spirits seeking to inhabit his young body, something changes in the Lambert household and its patriarch. The supernatural entities haunting the house have also become more aggressive, to the alarm of Renai (Rose Byrne) and her mother in law Lorraine (Barbara Hershey). What becomes more puzzling is that Josh seems to be in denial about the danger lurking in the house and the threat it poses to his family. While Renai tries to figure out what is happening to her husband, his mother reaches out to paranormal investigators anew to get to the bottom of the evil that is plaguing her family.
While Insidious is a continuation of Josh’s story from the first movie, I could not help but feel like its an entirely different film because the approach is so drastically different from the first movie. The first Insidious relied on ominous music and a a lot of psychological mindplay to scare audiences but the sequel was more straightforward. James Wan knew how to scare people and straight off the bat, he didn’t mess around. His ghosts were so in your face and judging by the amount of screams he generated as a response from the audience, he was fairly successful in this endeavor.
I also liked how Wan managed to prolong the Lambert family’s story yet not make it obvious that the sequel is merely a ploy to cash in on the franchise. The sequel was smartly written although not all that original but he really entertained the audience with the right blend of up-tempo suspense and sinister creepiness that was the trademark of the Insidious movies. Actor Patrick Wilson is seeming to establish himself as the go to guy for these types of paranormal horror films and I must admit that he has the face and the acting chops to pull it off. As for the rest of the returning characters, kudos for not missing a beat and providing a fluid continuity for the two movies.
If you ask me, Insidious was a pretty decent movie but I thought that it was highly overrated. I liked the sequel much better although content wise, the two movies could have been incorporated into one. The sequel made me a fan of the franchise in totality and that is something of a success.
All in all, I think everybody pulled in their weight but writer/director James Wan and Patrick Wilson are the MVPs of this film. Great job.