I held high hopes for James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2, and my hopes were not in vain. In fact, I believe Insidious: Chapter 2 might be better than the original Insidious, though, frankly, it’s hard to separate the two pictures. I honestly have never seen a sequel that’s as completely organic as this one. I was struck when watching it by the fact that Chapter 2 included a scene that incorporated, expounded on, and explained one of the random scares from Insidious. Naturally, I wanted to see how well this really fit, so I came home and popped the DVD in to check. It was only then that I realized that the first shot in Insidious by all rights belongs to Chapter 2 — or at least to the backstory from 1986 that opens it. By itself, it seems like little more than a creepy mood-setter. Taken in connection with Chapter 2, it becomes much more to the point. Whether this was intentionally done to lead to this sequel, I have no idea, but it helps to make the two movies virtually seamless. The bulk of Chapter 2 concerns whether what really came back from “The Further” in Insidious was indeed Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson). This isn’t much of a mystery, since we already knew he wasn’t himself by the end of the first film, but neither did we know exactly what he was, nor whether he was possessed or what. The second film unravels this and the story of Josh’s childhood possession. That story strikes me as stronger than the one about the red-faced demon in the first film. All in all, Chapter 2 is a solid spook show — much like the first, but with the intensity ramped up. Since our spirit medium, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), is dead in this film (which doesn’t mean we won’t see her), her old associate, Carl (Steve Coulter), is brought in to work with the semi-comic relief ghost hunters Specs (writer Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). He’s a reasonable substitute and has the film’s most memorable line: “Let’s just say this is a house where very little good happened.” And, boy, does that prove true. As modern horror goes, this one is in the top tier for me.
Director: James Wan
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Producer: Jason Blum and Oren Peli
Cast: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Danielle Bisutti, Danielle Bisutti, Leigh Whannell and Ty Simpkins