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Insidious Chapter 2
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Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)

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Plot Summary:
"The famed horror team of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell reunite with the original cast of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins in Insidious Chapter 2, a terrifying sequel to the acclaimed horror film, which follows the haunted Lambert family as they seek to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 15 August 2014 My Rating: out of 5


Our family of protagonists (Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, and Ty Simpkins) are back, following Wilson’s otherworldly experience in rescuing his son Simpkins from ‘The Further’. They are trying to put things back together, but with the cops sniffing around about the death of the psychic (Lin Shaye) who helped them out, it’s not easy. And that’s when Byrne starts experiencing crazy paranormal activity again. She also is having problems with Wilson, who seems somehow different since coming back, distant even. Enter Byrne’s mum (Barbara Hershey) who does some digging of her own, accompanied by Shaye’s paranormal expert assistants (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson), and a former colleague (Steve Coulter) to see if they can work out what’s going on.

The first “Insidious” worked quite well for what it was, even if it relied on clichés and homages a tad too much. I’m happy to report that this 2013 sequel from director James Wan and writer/co-star Leigh Whannell (“Saw”, “Insidious”) is at the very least equal to the first film and perhaps even better. No new territory is really mined, but it’s creepy, tense, and bloody good-looking, thanks to cinematographer John R. Leonetti (“Dead Silence”, “Insidious”, “Piranha”). Even the hand-held shots are well-done and perfectly framed. See, it’s possible. There’s a really amazing depth of field on show, which I’m always happy to see. Everything looks 3D, even though it’s 2D. The low-level lighting is excellent, it’s dark but you can see everything necessary. Meanwhile, this might be the first film I’ve seen that has had foggy interiors, instead of exteriors. Me likey a lot.

These films are so vastly superior to the “Saw” films, that’s for sure. The story is genuinely interesting, this is a ghost story and not just a cinematic ghost train meant to make you jump, but barely scare you. Whannell and Wan (who co-wrote the story) have done a really clever job here. I like how we see this married couple trying to cope after the events of the first film. Did they really go through that? Was it the same experience for both of them? And Rose Byrne starts to distrust her own husband, feeling as though he has changed. All interesting stuff. Oh, and there’s a really, really obvious reference to the excellent 1978 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, which I really, really appreciated, being a huge fan of it.

Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson aren’t the showiest of actors, but they are both effective in this. Wilson in particular (who I rag on constantly, I’ll admit) is pretty much playing James Brolin from “The Amityville Horror”, but doing a better job of it. Writer Whannell and fellow Aussie Angus Sampson are funnier this time around as the nerdy paranormal guys.

Not everything about the film works. The opener is interesting, but slightly hampered by the annoying trick of getting Lin Shaye to dub the voice of the actress hired to play her character as a younger woman. It’s obvious, and really dumb. Also, the music score by Joseph Bishara (“Insidious”, “The Conjuring”) is a little overripe, even for this kind of thing. So that’s a bit unfortunate.

Clichéd or not, these guys know what they’re doing and have delivered another enjoyable paranormal film. I’m not sure why the reviews haven’t been better, it’s definitely worth it for fans of this kind of thing. It’s no hack sequel, but a continuation of the same story, smartly and interestingly done.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 18 September 2013 My Rating: out of 5

Picking up right where the first film finished, the Lambert family have moved in with Lorraine whilst the police try to establish who killed Elise Rainier. Still on edge from the events preceding this, Renai and Lorraine are both convinced they’ve seen things in the house, but Josh is adamant that everything is back to normal. What happens next is both surprising and clever as we discover more about the characters and those in ‘the further’.

I went to a special double bill of Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 so benefitted from viewing the films the way director James Wan intended (as one big story) and the sequel is a fine continuation. Whilst I felt that the first film was more terrifying, the sequel delved much further into the characters back stories and went in a totally different direction, so it was refreshing not to have to sit through more of the same.

The performances from Wilson, Byrne and Hershey were once again great with Lin Shaye returning to the fan favourite role of Elise and Specs and Tucker again providing some welcome comedic relief. The scares are well orchestrated and there are some nice nods to the original.

James Wan and Leigh Whannell have proved once again with this film that they are forces to be reckoned with not only in the genre but within the world of film as a whole, and as Wan bids the horror scene adieu to try something new with ‘Fast 7’ he leaves horror in a far better place than it was a decade ago. For that, horror fans everywhere are eternally grateful.

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