Sunday, May 19, 2019

Insidious: Chapter 2

Movie Name: Insidious: Chapter 2
Year of Release: 2013
Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Steve Coulter, Ty Simpkins, Angus Sampson, Danielle Bisutti, Tyler Griffin, Lindsay Seim, Hank Harris, Andrew Astor, Garrett Ryan
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
James Wan followed the surprise success of "Insidious" with two releases in 2013, one being a natural succession to the first "Insidious", while the other was the even more successful "The Conjuring" (which would in turn launch an equally very successful horror universe with plenty films for Warner Bros.). "Insidious: Chapter 2" starts right after the events of the first film. Josh Lambert is back, or so it seems, as is Dalton, but in the process Elise Rainier, the gifted psychic was killed. Josh, now possessed by the entity who has always haunted him, killed Elise, and is intent in wreaking havoc in his own family. As the ghosts keep showing up in their household, and Renai gets more and more freaked out, Lorraine (Josh's mother) alongside the help of Specs and Tucker (Elise's former associates), have to figure who is the entity possessing Josh, and how to help him come back.
What was so remarkably interesting about the first "Insidious" was the fact that Leigh Whannell and James Wan, managed to create an environment so macabre and suspenseful, with very little flash, but very effectively, by largely playing with shadows, and the notion of an other post life existence. What  made the first film so compelling was precisely the fact that the mystique of the characters was left unchallenged. The film had some touching points with what Steven Spielberg did with "Poltergeist" - the nuclear family being threatened in their household by something out of their control, and how through resilience, unity, they managed to battle those forces. The sequel tries to extend that formula, but this time around tries to explain the existence of the creature inhabiting Josh, and to a certain extent, the universe where they exist. Sadly, even if the tone is very similar to the first film, the freshness and innovation in storytelling factors are more subdued, and what is left is an attempt to replicate/continue the first film. However the details are not quite as strong (such as Josh's attempts at killing the family), and what was originally an unseen menace, becomes something quite different. There are definitely strong elements inherited from the first film, and James Wan is a gifted storyteller, but the film could have benefitted from a more refined script. The cast is uniformly good, particularly Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye, who always manage to bring gravitas to the proceedings. A minor film, still interesting to watch from an eclectic director.