In Review: Insidious Chapter 2

by Daniel Goodwin on 06/09/2013

insidious chapter 2

We all know the average horror sequel is a far from dazzling affair. In most cases, they are flaccid retreads through clichéd terrain that fritter into the desensitized doldrums of memory. With Insidious Chapter 2, James Wan offers his momentary bow to horror (before embarking on Fast and Furious 7) with a sequel that is far from ground-breaking yet ventures out of the haunted house comfort zone and into interesting new territories.

Instead of another creaky floorboard retread, the story follows the Lambert family (parents played by Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson) into a multi-plotted cluster of ghosts, witches and madmen. Taking refuge at grandmother’s house, they attempt to resettle, but the ghosts are not far behind. While Barbara Hershey (Grandma) and the dim-witted parapsychologists from Chapter 1 journey through a derelict hospital then later into “the further” (some kind of limbo full of disgruntled entities) in search of the source, a deadpan Patrick Wilson is possessed by a witch so his son must also follow suite to find his wayward spirit.

For a horror sequel it is surprisingly unique in scope, juggling sub-plots with well designed beasties and inventive scares. While not as creepy or brooding as Chapter 1, Insidious 2 goes for an out and out boo jumps and surreal slapstick violence; following the Raimi/ Cameron school of sequels by expanding the universe of the original. The wild-eyed demons and frenetic camera work are straight out of Evil Dead 2 (1987) while the men on a mission elements and a scene involving hooded corpses brings Aliens (1986) to mind. The scares don’t always work but the acting and humour are wonderfully hokey so surrender to the tackiness and there is fun to be had.

The cartoon-like surrealism proves suitable dressing for a patchy narrative that interacts with elements of the original in a way that hasn’t been attempted since Back To The Future 2 (1989). For all its faults, Insidious Chapter 2 is a fun-filled, cinematic ghost train combining a tongue in cheek sense of the macabre with wonderful imagery and is fast paced enough to ensure a decent night out.

Daniel has awarded Insidious Chapter 2 three Torches of Truth

three torches

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