"Insidious" went on to become one (really wanted to say "Wan" instead of "one" here) of the most profitable films of 2011 and one of the most talked about horror films of the past few years despite having such a small budget. Most people seemed to really enjoy it, but its extremely loud music and repetitive use of cheap and jump out scares became tiresome overall. Now, two years later, "Insidious: Chapter 2" has been released and director James Wan swears it's his swan song to the horror genre. If that's the case, then Wan really should have stepped out of the game with "The Conjuring."
After a pit stop in 1986, the sequel picks up almost immediately after the events in the first film. Supernatural medium Elise (Lin Shaye) is found dead after helping Josh (Patrick Wilson) reach The Further to bring his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) home. Unfortunately for Josh, he's now the prime suspect for Elise's death. The Lambert family is just trying to pick up the pieces and move on since the events of the first film, but something is still following them and violent supernatural occurrences are still happening. But why is Josh acting so peculiar? A mystery dating all the way back to the late 80s is buried within both Josh and his mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey).
Like its predecessor, the most intriguing segments of "Insidious: Chapter 2" take place in The Further. The music isn't nearly as obnoxious this time around. In fact, other than the music used with the title card and closing credits, the score of the film is much more subdued otherwise. The moments of complete silence are still there, but the music is much more restrained, softer, and less "in your face," which is a very gratifying alteration.
The scenes that take place in The Further are the creepiest aside from the closet sequence with Dalton and a tin can telephone. The manner in which "Insidious: Chapter 2" connects to the first film is more complicated and interesting than you're initially lead to believe. Patrick Wilson's performance seems a little rough at first, but evolves into this enigma that's much more spellbinding. He's extremely off-putting at times and yet you're mesmerized by the duress that Josh is being put through.
The original was a little slow at times, but the sequel feels like it takes an even longer amount of time to get things rolling. Events like the piano playing itself, baby toys going off on their own, strange women walking the halls, and a baby monitor being used like a lifeline are all that awaits you in the first half of the film. The importance of the sound of a metronome or hearing a clock tick in the background is intriguing, but isn't enough to really immerse the audience in a return to this world.
Poor Rose Byrne seems to have returned just to get the crap beaten out of her for the sequel. She gets the hell slapped out of her by a poltergeist, has a teapot thrown at her back at full force by a grown man, and gets thrown across the room. "Insidious: Chapter 2" is much more comedic in comparison to the original. Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) are nothing but pure comedic relief with their hunter-ninja-bear game, the quesadilla/unicorn code word argument, and the entire tranquilizer sequence. The ending is predictable sequel bait that seems thrown in just to keep the franchise going after Wan's exit. Don't expect any answers after the credits either because there's nothing there.
"Insidious: Chapter 2" has a slower pace and a lighter, goofier tone than the original film. The jump-out scares have been tucked away and are more methodical in execution. However the sequel will likely not be as much of a crowd-pleaser as "Insidious." There's no doubt "Insidious: Chapter 2" will be profitable. It'll likely take first place opening weekend and be successful based on the positive reputation of the first film alone, but the sequel will more than likely be seen as a disappointment that doesn't live up to its predecessor.
"Insidious: Chapter 2" will be released in theaters across the country starting this Friday, September 13.