Insidious: Chapter 2

Insidious: Chapter 2 photo starrating-1andahalfstars.jpgLet me start by saying that Insidious Chapter 2 isn’t debased by the torture-porn muck of graphic gore and violence. It still attempts to scare through an eerie mood. For that, I applaud it. However, that is the last positive thing I will say about this movie.

Insidious Chapter 2 assumes you’ve seen the first entry. The chronicle picks up right where the previous one ended without explanation. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are back as the parents, along with Ty Simpkins as their son who sees dead people. It’s nice to see characters we remember, but the workaday script doesn’t take the time to imbue any of them with a personality. These people are ciphers. They aren’t interesting individuals anymore, just bodies reading lines to advance an impenetrable plot.

From a narrative standpoint, Insidious Chapter 2 makes the mistake of thinking we required additional explication to the first film. Insidious was an effective chiller with a refreshingly simple plot. In contrast, Chapter 2 is unnecessarily complicated. Apparently Josh (Patrick Wilson), the father in the first film had a history with seeing an evil spirit as a child too. In that respect, Insidious Chapter 2 is structured very much like the Paranormal Activity pictures with embellishments that complicate the basic plot. Not unexpected since Oren Peli produced both. Apparently there’s a valid reason why the Lambert family is so connected to the spirit world. Thank goodness. Who needs scares? I wanted gratuitous exposition. (Sarcasm)

The most surprising thing regarding Insidious Chapter 2 is the shocking lack of scares. A musical baby walker goes off by itself, an unknown woman dressed in white walks by in the background. Does that make your blood run cold? If so, you might be the audience for this hokum. As things escalate in their home, Josh’s wife and mother confront him with what they’ve seen, but he continues to suppress that anything is wrong. Later we get a dreary séance where they try to contact a paranormal investigator who has passed on. They roll letter dice and the scene is shot with all the excitement of watching paint dry. LOOK! The letters N and O are next to each other. She’s speaking to us!! This ultimately leads them to a hospital where there’s more turgid back-story concerning a man who committed suicide, whose house they visit, where they find newspaper clippings that point to supplementary details involving a dark dimension that exists parallel to our world. There’s even a twisted mother there who wanted her son to be a girl. Great shades of Psycho! None of this is particularly compelling or scary. It’s merely a needlessly complex subterfuge to hide a thoroughly convoluted story. Chapter 2 frequently invokes the respectable name of part 1 and in the process cheapens the value of the original by over-explaining its mysteries. This actually causes the viewer to re-evaluate its merits. If this is only chapter 2, I shudder to think how many more volumes this poorly written book has.

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22 Responses to “Insidious: Chapter 2”

  1. You hate fun! lol jp. We must have seen different movies. I thought that this was scary, suspenseful, and entertaining. Yes, it’s not the original, but what is? But what do I know, I didn’t think The Spectacular Now was very good… and I liked The Lone Ranger 🙂

    • I didn’t even comment on whether it was original or not but I fail to see what was so scary. Rolling dice? A shadowy figure walking in the background? A musical baby walker goes on by itself? What part frightened you?

  2. For me, it could have been a lot better if Wan took his material a bit more seriously. Problem is, he allows for it to get so strange and goofy, that you wonder if he actually cared about the story, or just wanted to make a sequel. Good review Mark.

  3. I didn’t have very high expectations for this- just based on the trailers. Any film that feels they need to show you how terrified teenagers are via night-vision cameras is not to be trusted. It’s too bad, because I really did enjoy the original. Oh well, perhaps part 3 will be better?…Hahahahaha! Good review Mark.

    • I remember those TV spots: “This is your average heart rate….this is your heart rate on Insidious Chapter 2.” I can act real scared too if it’ll get me featured in a national ad. 🙄

  4. Aw man, Mark, I was looking forward to seeing this one sometime this week; Ryan over at “Rhino’s Horror” loved it. This review sounds like I am going to agree with you, though. Ryan admitted it didn’t have a strong story, but that it was a lot of fun. I will probably end up in the middle of you two, and like it more than you did, but not as much as Ryan. I will drop a comment back over here when I see for myself. I know we strongly disagreed on “You’re Next” but I think we generally agree for the most part. I do hope we disagree on this one, though; but probably not.

    • I hope you enjoy it too. This has gotten universally negative reviews but you might be the exception. 🙂

      • Unfortunately I am thinking I will agree with you; i may not even go see it at the theater after all, and wait a couple months for it on video.

      • Dude, I went to see this today and my friend and I both walked out shortly after that lame dice-rolling seance, and when they went to the hospital. No idea why they wasted time, money and energy on this worthless drivel.

        Unfortunately, your review was spot-on! lol.

      • The short reason is “to make money”. This was a big hit. Not as big as The Conjuring, mind you, but still a huge success given how cheap it was to produce.

        I hate to say, I told you so, but…

        🙂

  5. Sounds like crap. At least you had one good thing to say in the up front though. Haha. Your review makes me glad I decided to skip Insidious 2. Nothing worse than a horror movie that lacks decent scares AND is overly complicated.

  6. I probably will see this even though the review is not good. Very we’ll written. I’m gonna wait for DVD.

    • You should definitely check it out as a horror fan, but it pales in comparison the the original. To be quite honest, it pales period. So many better horror films.

  7. Well said, Mark. Definitely bad, this one. The good news Wan says he’s done with horror movies for a while. If he means it, and that is a big if, he’s probably handing off the saga to someone else, much like he did Saw.

    The other good news: he also gave us The Conjuring. 😉

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