(The gist: Insidious Chapter 2 is exactly that, the second chapter to Insidious. The movie manages to follow its predecessor so seamlessly that it seems like a larger film cut in half rather than a stand-alone sequel. I loved it for the same reason I loved Insidious; it is genuinely creepy, and the jump scares got me on multiple occasions.)
Insidious Chapter 2 did not watch like a sequel to me. By that, I mean it did not seem like its own individual movie in a series. Rather, it seems completely connected to the first, as if the filmmakers had produced one long movie and cut it in half. Very much like chapters in a book.
So the title is apt.
Insidious Chapter 2 picks up right where Insidious left off, following the Lambert family as they continue to be plagued by the dead, including one violent spirit who has possessed the father, Josh. The plot bobs and weaves through temporal space in a way you can only come to expect from Saw writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan.
Insidious and Chapter 2 are interwoven together seamlessly. The tone, pace, and feel are all identical. Watching it, it was like I never turned off the first movie; it simply continued playing into the second.
The difference between the two films is that Chapter 2 delves deeper. Insidious sets the stage and introduces the various hauntings; Chapter 2 actually investigates and reveals the backstory behind the events of its predecessor.
Personally, I am always torn on the reveal, on seeing behind the curtain, particularly when it comes to haunting movies. Yes, I am completely rapt and curious and want to know everything about the scary happenings on screen. However, once the mystery is tossed aside, once the fear of the unknown is peeled back, it loses some effect.
It becomes less scary.
So while I definitely enjoyed the frights Chapter 2 had to offer and found the backstory behind the haunting very intriguing, twisted, and disturbing, once I had that information, the movie was less effective at creeping me out than Insidious was. In short, when it comes to fear, I prefer the first Insidious based on its ambiguity.
That is not to say that both movies did not creep me out of my skin. They did. Very much so. The Insidious franchise definitely dances on my own personal fears by bringing children into the mix. Animated children’s toys. Disappearing baby. Combine those with well-timed jump scares, and I am on the edge of my seat.
Two movies in, I am infatuated with the Insidious franchise. It harkens to everything I loved about the Saw franchise while succeeding at being both more frightening and unnerving.
I have heard mixed reviews about Chapter 3 (mostly negative); however, considering my reaction to the first two chapters, I am just going to have to make the gamble and give it a try.