Insidious: Chapter 2‘ – The Albotas Review

Opening to the box office tune of $40.3 million, Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up immediately where the first film left off, but does it surpass its predecessor, or is it just more of the same?

Minor spoilers ahead.

AWESOME

  • A different kind of ghost story. The first Insidious was so well-received because it had an intriguing spin on the ghost story genre. Insidious: Chapter 2 takes you deeper into The Further and the story surrounding the ghosts that haunt the Lambert family.
  • Ghostly time travel. At the end of the first Insidious, Josh Lambert went into a spirit world called The Further to retrieve the enslave soul of his comatose son, but something else came back in his place. In Insidious 2, we get to watch Josh’s lost spirit travel through time and revisit some of the cooler scares from Insidious, but this time, we get to see what was going on in the spirit realm side of things. Although scarce, these time travel scenes were perfectly executed and totally seemed planned since before the first film even started shooting – never once did they seem half-assed or forced.
  • Danielle Bisutti. She’s the actress who plays the mother of Parker Crane, the film’s main baddie possessing the dad. Her character doesn’t even have a name (seriously, she’s listed as Mother of Parker Crane in the IMDB credits),  but she rocked the hell out of every scene she was in and played the perfect mix of creepy and batshit insane. The only problem was, she’s so much of a babe that I was too busy admiring her gorgeous blue eyes to be scared. Let’s just say she could haunt my house any day of the week.

NOT AWESOME

  • Super derivative. Every single door in this movie creeks. If you see a closeup of a main character standing in a long hallway, you can totally expect to see a ghost walk across the hall. Pianos play themselves, stuff moves on its own, and creepy voices are heard on baby monitors. The first film definitely had me on the edge of my seat way more. This just felt like generic, paint-by-number horror scenes playing out.
  • The comic relief. Remember those nerdy ghost hunter dudes from Insidious 1? Yeah, the movie was pretty much all downhill once they were introduced. This time around it’s the same case, only they show up pretty early on. While they occasionally earn a decent chuckle or two, their overly forced geeky quirks are unbearable for the most part. Example: when trying to decide which of them should go down a creepy basement stairway first, they play a game of Hunter, Ninja, Bear – it’s like Rock, Paper, Scissors, but, you know, geeky and quirky. It’s also from a really old Fed-Ex commercial.
  • Too much happening at once. So, you have the typical family haunting story, but there’s also this creepy Shining thing going on with the possessed dad, then the grandmother goes on her own adventure with the paranormal investigator dudes, meanwhile, the real dad’s spirit is wandering around in ghost world being all sad and playing the piano. It jumps around between plots throughout the movie and you can tell the writers really tried to cram a lot of story elements into to 106 minutes.
  • Pretty much everyone makes the worst decisions. ”Oh, you want me, a frail old man, to try and sedate a man possessed by the ghost of a serial killer? Sure, no problem. You guys stay in this van parked at the end of a long driveway. I doubt he’ll come at me with a knife or anything.” Okay, horror movies are known for having characters make terrible decisions. It gives ethnic people a reason to yell at the screen. But horror film making has come a long way and we deserve smarter main characters to root for. This isn’t a slasher flick where we just want gore and sweet kills, this is the story of a family going through a traumatic event. It’s hard to sympathize when the wife is a subservient ass-head who lets her husband convince her that all the weird shit going on is just her imagination. Honey, did you see the first movie? You were in it and you know damn well that shit wasn’t your imagination. Also, there’s seriously a part when the grandma and investigators find a room filled with maybe 20 or more corpses of murder victims and instead of calling the cops, they root through a chest of old newspaper clippings to learn more about the ghosts.

VERDICT

While I definitely enjoyed Insidious: Chapter 2, it was nowhere on par with the scope of originality in the first film which had way more at stake emotionally since it was about a family scared of losing their child. There were some good cheap jump scares and really creepy atmospheric stuff, but most of the focus was on the story which was part of a balancing act between plot and scares. Sadly, the scares fell short and you’ve probably already seen most of them in every other haunted house movie.

If you want to see a scary movie with a good plot, good scares, and Patrick Wilson, go see The Conjuring.