*I recommend not watching the trailer, it makes the film seem worse than it is. But sure here it is.*
Plot: Insidious: Chapter 2 is the follow up to James Wan & Leigh Whannel’s successful branching out from the SAW franchise & teaming with Paranormal Activity’s Oren Peli. All the major cast return. The story picks up where the first ended, with the mother (Renai) being fearful that her husband Josh has been possessed.
Thoughts on the film:
• I appreciated the film’s efforts to tie itself around the first film, making sense of prior strange happenings. At the centre of it is Josh, seen in flashbacks as a child, but mostly as an adult in the present, and it works very well. I wish the story had been written as a trilogy straight off so they could’ve implemented more of that.
• The film fleshes out a lot of the backstory – focusing on Josh’s (malevolent) “friend” – the old woman in black, and completely dismisses Darth Maul (thank you!).
• While uncovering the plot the film splits into two – traditionally shot in the house, and ‘on location’ handheld cameras.
• Evil dad with the baseball bat feels very Shining!
• Some very creepy scenes that I won’t spoil. After moving the bookcase was my favourite part!
• I still hate the overuse of quiet-then-deafeningly-loud scary strings used to shock you. It is cheap and breeds contempt.
• 3 new haunted tropes – baby roller (meh), tin cup walkie-talkies (one really great use) and ghostly dice (fine, not great).
• The sarcastic investigator duo return, but in some scenes they lean too heavy on buffoonery, and it actually detracts from important, tense scenes. I imagine the writers/directors love these bits but they jar with the rest of the film.
• It was a big selling point in the last film, but Astral Projection isn’t all that special in this one.
• As before the contorted smile gimmick really isn’t that creepy. Definitely less is more…some shots linger too long on the ghosts – the more you see ’em, the more it’s some actor in white makeup instead of a ghost – and that’s a shame as it’s cool in itself.
OVERALL: A bit more scattershot than the first, fixes some problems of the first but continues on with others, but still a decent movie. You are not missing anything by skipping it though. Regardless, it was impressively made with $5 million, it grossed over $150m. See you next time for Insidious 3!