Review: Insidious – Chapter 2

Oh James Wan… no matter how hard you try you still aren’t convincing any scares out of me.

Following the events of the first film, Chapter 2 follows the Lambert family as they attempt to leave the horrors behind by moving into father Josh Lambert’s old home. But when they do it is apparent something is still lingering and following Josh from his previous experiences.

To say I hate 2010’s Insidious would be… accurate. I found it abrasive, stupid, childish and worst of all not scary. You might wonder then why I even bothered watching the sequel? Well I am a man who looks for the best in people, and perhaps Chapter 2 might prove to be director James Wan’s redemption.
It isn’t really.

All of Insidious 2‘s saving graces are in its final act where it takes what little original ideas it has and spins some clever, elaborate trickery for the briefest of moments. As a film it also drops a lot of the “stupidity” I mentioned from the first film: instead of Darth Maul from the Star Wars films being the ghoul in question (and silly Irish-jig-ghost-boy) we get a more traditional ghost story woven together with some unnerving domestic abuse undertones. Patrick Wilson as the father plays his part well too, and is probably the only stand out performance here.

The tone and pacing feels much the same as Insidious, we still have our gormless “ghost hunter” sidekicks chewing up the scenery. If you actually liked Insidious you will enjoy this just as much!

But James Wan still treats his film like amateur-hour ghost stories. The soundtrack still drives me completely batty, telegraphing surprise scares like a great big warning sign with a narrator. “EAK EAK EAK EAK” “WooooooOOOOOOOooOooOoOOOEOOOEOEEEeeeeeeeeeEEEEE”.

James… it is possible to scare people without the silly violin and piano chords.

In fact, there was one, ONE moment that actually freaked me. In this entire film, one fleeting shot was actually clever enough to surprise me, and you know what? It didn’t have any music playing during.

I’ve never seen so many badly timed and badly implemented jump scares, at least not since the first Insidious. I kid you not, one such initial scare was basically the mother walking into a toddler’s walking frame. THE HORROR. The first hour was extremely dull and so predictable that you’d have to be seeing this film with a friend to get any enjoyment out of it. A friend who has the spacial awareness and self security of a paranoid doormouse.

So no, I didn’t care for Insidious Chapter 2, there are far far better scares in superior films (I couldn’t help but feel this was directly ripping off one such film, The Woman in Black) and while its third act has a bit more merit and intrigue, it takes a long hour to get there.

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