Insidious: Chapter 2

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
★ / ★★★★

Though Josh (Patrick Wilson) has succeeded in getting his son (Ty Simpkins) back from the spirit world via astral projection, something else has found its way into Josh’s body and it intends to stay there. So, Josh finds himself stuck in the other realm as if he were one of the dead. His wife, Renai (Rose Byrne), suspects that the man in front of her may not really be her husband after he fails to recognize a song she has written for him. To top it off, her fears are amplified due to the ghostly occurrences beginning to unfold in the house.

“Insidious: Chapter 2,” based on the screenplay by Leigh Whannell, is a witless, humorless, uncreative, and messy would-be horror movie. I was astonished that this embarrassing wreckage is from the mind of the same person who wrote the suspenseful, eerie, genuinely scary predecessor. Even though the first picture ended in a cliffhanger, a sequel should not have been made because there was no script worth putting into celluloid.

If there is one word to describe the film, it would be “reaching.” As in: the movie is constantly reaching for something that simply isn’t there. The supposed scares lack energy and a sense of timing—two key qualities to pull off an adequate horror film. As a result, every attempt to “scare” the audience is so dull to have to sit through.

It throws everything at us: an entity playing the piano when one is alone in the house, something suddenly moving while one explores a dark room, a malicious voice being heard through the baby monitor. And though these things can work if used wisely and sparingly, showing them one right after another communicates nothing but a desperation to impress. I wasn’t impressed. It bored me.

The characters are now aware of the nature of what they are dealing with so suspense and mystery are no longer present. We are asked to do nothing but anticipate how they react. It does not help that there is a strictly enforced formula to the scares as well as in the unveiling of revelations. It is like having to sit through a joke we’ve heard before… only this person is not telling it very well. If the material had been smarter or if the writer had been more ambitious, it ought to have had some kind of a spin with respect to the characters being more aware of what they are fighting against. Instead, it settles for less than mediocrity and just about everything about the picture feels interminable and desultory.

To add insult to injury, the sequel connects one of the most terrifying encounters in “Insidious” into its veins. It feels so forced—something that comes right out of those cheap, badly made, insulting sequels to James Wan’s “Saw” and Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Activity.” Is this what commercial horror has been reduced to—“connecting” events with its predecessors to appear “intelligent” or “creative”? I find it disgusting, lazy, and insulting.

It is clear that “Insidious: Chapter 2” is not director James Wan’s finest effort. There is nothing to see here unless one is interested in sifting through distractions and clichés. A litmus test on whether or not a scary movie is effective: if you come out of it more frustrated than uneasy to be in your house alone, it has fundamentally failed to do its job.

12 replies »

  1. Perfectly stated. My friend and I walked out of this after the first act; it was just so damn boring! It’s like sequels are great if they ADD to the previous story and build on it. This did just the opposite. It tore down what had been built up in the first one. Very well thought-out and stated review here; much more detailed than I cared to write.

  2. You need to enter this into my fellow blogger Eric Isaac’s seasonal “shitfest” contest, in which blog authors submit an entry of a shitty movie to Eric and he posts the entries (one per day for a month) and at the end of the month there’s a judge to vote on the winner. It’s just for fun, and you definitely should enter this review as it is absolutely perfect for the contest. You will also garner more attention for your blog and likely attain a few more subscribers.

    His e-mail is:

    The contest runs in February and he is accepting entries now. Just copy & paste the text from your entry and e-mail it to him. Put something like “SF Entry” in subject line. His blog specializes in horror, so your entry is perfect.

    Here’s a link to his blog if you want to stop by:

  3. Good review Franz. The first wasn’t amazing in any way, shape or form, but it looks like a freakin’ masterpiece compared to this. Not saying that this movie is all that bad, it just doesn’t quite measure-up with its scare or overall freaky atmosphere that the original worked with so well.

  4. As one of the few who thought this was superior to the majority of ghost and demon films, I must say that you bring up really good points. I can see how the constant action can become repetitive and seem desperate at times.

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