Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of terror and violence, and thematic elements
With “Insidious” being arguably the best horror film of the past decade, “Insidious: Chapter 2” had an impossible task to live up to. So no, “Insidious: Chapter 2” isn’t as innovative or nearly as scary as the original (while, it is funnier). And yes, there are moments of silliness that I can’t defend. Oh, and I would suggest that one watches the original in order to fully understand the storyline of Chapter 2 (which is: After something follows Josh Lambert out of the spirit world, his family must uncover his mysterious childhood secret before it’s too late). But with that said, “Insidious: Chapter 2” is a more than worthy successor, as what it lacks in story, it more than makes up for in creativity; while still having an understanding that for a scary movie to work, at the very least, it must be scary.
Side Note: For those who disliked “Insidious” on the basis that the “astral projection” aspect was “too convoluted”, you should be aware that director James Wan and company only add another layer of weirdness and campiness and over-the-top-ness to the plot of “Insidious: Chapter 2”; especially when it takes a grand leap from the horror genre, to heavy science fiction, in the final act.
Excluding “The Godfather: Part 2”, the worst kind of sequels are the ones whose sole purpose are to explain or extend its predecessor, using a back-story plotline. And while this may not sound like a flaw on paper, during said sequels the effective idea of the original soon becomes muddled, as the plot is stretched beyond its means and begins to fully focus on expanding the original, rather than giving the viewer a fresh story. And while “Insidious: Chapter 2” should be considered an extension of its predecessor, and it does look to expand on the original, Wan, with the help of a highly creative script, has essentially created a new story which uses the “Insidious” outline as more of a jumping off point, than anything else.
Patrick Wilson (who has certainly become Wan’s muse) does good work here, displaying his ability to play a menacing Norman Bates type. And as I alluded to before, Leigh Whannell’s script is extremely well constructed (even whilst delving down pathways that are more than a little eccentric) but it’s the direction that sells “Insidious: Chapter 2”. With great camera work throughout, that eerily aggressive score which stands as the signature of a Wan production and moment after moment of either suspense or disturbing images (especially for a PG-13 film) Wan’s direction is on point as usual, as he now stands as the best horror director working today. Even if you know the scares are coming, even if you’ve seen these horror tropes before (as recently as a month ago with “The Conjuring”) his direction is so effective that it would be extremely difficult not to become lost in the moment and jump out of your seat along with everyone else in the theater.
Final Thought: I understand that horror cynics have been blindly picking this movie apart, even going so far as to lie and say that it wasn’t entertaining. And while I won’t argue that “The Conjuring” was (ever so slightly) structurally the better of the 2013 Wan movies, that doesn’t change the fact that I unapologetically enjoyed “Insidious: Chapter 2” more so. Therefore, if you are a horror fan, and wish to partake in a scary/entertaining night at the movies, then “Insidious: Chapter 2” is a must see.
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