What is there left to say about sequels that haven’t already entered the chronicles of the “dead horse” and its severe beatings? Sequels are rarely better than the original film. They’re just shameless cash grabs. The story was fine where it left off in the first one… and so on and so forth.
Why, then, does “Insidious: Chapter 2” feel like it can’t be written off as just another horror movie sequel? The follow-up to the critically mediocre film is artless, worthless and steals time and effort from the viewer that they could’ve spent learning a new skill, reading a novella or punching themselves in the head. Any one of those activities would be more worth your time left on Earth than to go out and see “Insidious: Chapter 2.”
James Wan, director of “Saw” and “The Conjuring,” sets “Insidious: Chapter 2” to continue where the first film concluded. Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his son are able to leave their bodies in a spiritual form as they seek to end the ghost haunting and “Star Wars: Episode 1” cosplay that plagues their family. The boy returns safely, but Josh, unfortunately, is possessed by a malevolent woman who haunted him as a child. Josh also killed the medium, Elise, played by Lin Shaye.
As “Insidious: Chapter 2” continues on, its story contrivances and ludicrousness warpath with no stop in sight as different elements are raised but are never entirely fleshed out or pondered further. One such element — that is literally dropped with a phone call — sets Josh up as the primary suspect in the aforementioned murder case, which he clearly did in “Insidious” as he yelled expletives at Elise. But who needs an interesting spin on real world or spiritual responsibility for murder when there is so much of “Insidious” to continuously rip off? Beat for beat and line for line, “Insidious: Chapter 2” runs out of gags to pull from the original film and ends up with nothing left.
The terms “gag” and “screwball comedy” are flippantly tossed about in casual conversation, but the terms are apt in “Insidious: Chapter 2.” Based on current trends of recent horror films, the comedic aspect of horror films are becoming problematic.
When building tension in a scene, the goal is to give the audience an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of their stomach, so that the audience doesn’t want the camera to turn the corner or enter the closet. “Insidious: Chapter 2” is not interested in building tension. It is more interested in, for example, putting emphasis on paranormal experts’ homosexual flirtations. It is even more interested in lines of dialogue and sequences, like in an underwhelming climax where Tucker comes crashing through a wall in a karate stance like some drunkard who wandered onto the set. No one ever threw a pie at Jack Torrance’s face when he was chopping the door down in “The Shining,” and Ellen Ripley never slipped on a banana peel as she escaped the Nostromo in “Alien,” because the tone of those films are strictly horror.
The characters in “Insidious: Chapter 2,” especially the paranormal experts, are as boring and uninteresting as the rest of the film. Patrick Wilson is very creepy and unsettling in this film, but it’s a shame that every other line of dialogue is delivered in the most monotone, nonchalant and bored tone. In addition, once the replacement medium appears, pulling out his paranormal Yahtzee dice, you’ll quickly learn that this film has stopped caring about any sort of narrative or character arc. Instead it immediately fingers your wallet for cash and bids you adieu before you realize just how badly you have been swindled out of both your time and money.
There are so many tribulations with “Insidious: Chapter 2” that it becomes obvious, especially compared to “The Conjuring,” which film James Wan preferred to direct. Unfortunately, that leaves the audience who enjoyed “Insidious” short-changed for the sequel.
Films like “Insidious: Chapter 2” are not written off as just another horror sequel or remake; they are written off in your mind as soon as you leave the theater. It isn’t even worth the potential rental. Ignore it, move on and forget that a sequel to “Insidious” exists. You’ll be better off.
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