Inspite of the attempt to explain why certain events happened, Insidious: Chapter 2 still left me with so many questions and made me want to watch the first installment again. James Wan once again did it! He surprised us with a well-preserved story line but lacks strong effective scares (character definition). Just as same with his word-of-mouth movie hit this year "The Conjuring", it is a legit horror flick with a little intriguing and confusing twist. I like Insidious: Chapter 2 though because I've seen how the movie had developed its characters and the fact that he was able to cleverly interlinked the movie (but in a messy way). I also like how comical Specs and Tucker could get to balance the vibe. But Wilson (Josh Lambert) is his favorite, so be it! Overall, the movie did not disappoint nor impress me, but took me on a horror ride between what's real and who's not.
The first Insidious was easily one of the creepiest, best horror films I have ever seen. It was a solid 10 and gave me the chills and thrills like few horror movies ever do. I was thrilled to hear about this sequel but also a little cautious because how could they possibly follow up something so great and make it anywhere near as good. Well I can assure you that Insidious Chapter 2 knocks it out of the park. It isn't perfect and it falls short just a slight bit from the original amazing film but in other ways it is superior to the first film. Insidious Chapter 2 takes the story to a whole new level. Whereas the first movie provided a fairly typical possession story, with ghosts and demons and a family being terrorized this film took all of that and added an entire new level, depth, intellect and incredible story that launched Insidious into horror film hall of fame if it already wasn't there. I predict with another film or two (please keep making them!) that Parker Crane will be synonymous with Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees or Jigsaw more recently. I won't go into details about Parker Crane but this film flawlessly combines The Exorcist, Psycho, Friday The 13th and Amityville Horror and the potential behind this franchise could bury all of those.
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I do love Patrick Wilson and in the first film I thought he was fantastic at being the doting father and a down to earth man you could relate to and root for. Insidious Chapter 2 gives him an entirely new character arc to sink his teeth into and he nails it. This is equivalent as far as I'm concerned to Ryan Reynolds brilliant turn in the Amityville Horror remake. This was a new level for Wilson and it was terrific. Rose Byrne also returns as his wife. Byrne is good and their chemistry is very good. My issue with her is that she does a lot of crying in this film and very little else. I didn't feel like she was as strong as some of the other cast members and some of the plot holes I noticed this time around had to do with her character. Still Byrne is decent and I'm glad she came back again. Barbara Hershey gets a much more significant part in the sequel. She is very good as Wilson's mother and this time she plays investigator as she goes hunting for the mystery behind the thing haunting her family. Steve Coulter joins the cast as the lead psychic taking over from Lin Shaye (who does return as well in a smaller role.) Coulter is decent but I think it might have been really cool and very effective to have someone significant play the role...a major cameo. Still Coulter is good and plays the part very well. As mentioned Lin Shaye returns in her role and she is as good as she was in the first film, although a smaller part and a very different aspect to her character. The most impressive thing about Shaye's character was the girl that played the younger version of her (Lindsay Seim) who bore a striking resemblance to her and I assume they used Shaye's voice as hers because it was remarkable and a very cool aspect of the film to give it a very authentic feel. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson also return as Specs and Tucker. They were certainly the comic relief in the first film but done so in an appropriate manner and it was the same in this film. They had a few awkwardly funny moments (in a good way) but less than the first. This time they got a little more depth to their characters and more scenes but the comedy angle was done properly too only serving to just barely break the tension for a fleeting moment.
James Wan returns to direct this instalment and I can pretty honestly say together with his partner Leigh Whannell, these guys dominate the horror genre. They single handedly rule it. The Saw franchise (started by them) gave new life to the horror genre and spawned COUNTLESS copy cats. The Conjuring, Insidious and now its sequel were just terrific paranormal thrillers. They craft very complex stories but impressively so. They built exponentially on the first Insidious and in one film created an incredible amount of lore and back story to build on in future films. While Insidious: Chapter 2 didn't quite give me the creeps like the first film did, it was ten times smarter and therefore incredibly entertaining. That isn't to say there aren't some very creepy moments. There are a few things in the background of scenes that you catch briefly that will send you into chills. No matter how you look at it, this is a very worthy sequel and an absolute must see following the first incredible film.