It Will Take What You Love Most
Directed by James Wan (Furious 7, The Conjuring) and starring Patrick Wilson (Insidious, The Conjuring), Rose Byrne (Spy, Bad Neighbours) and Lin Shaye (Ouija, Insidious), Insidious: Chapter 2 is the continuation of the 2011 hit. 'The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world'. Can Chapter 2 recreate the terrifying scares from the first instalment and surpass it in terms of quality?
Insidious: Chapter 2 is a pleasant surprise - I had seen that it holds a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes and wasn't expecting much but I don't know why but I really enjoyed this film! It was intelligent, well acted and was packed full of jump scares. I think Wan and the guys from Blumhouse have really made the most of the $5 million budget and I am really impressed!
I actually prefer the story of Chapter 2 in comparison to the first instalment. I thought that this was basically a direct continuation from the first film - a lot like Mockingjay Part 2 will be a direct continuation from Part 1 - it was basically like that! I also thought the plot had a very clever twist that linked the otherwise 'mismatched' scene before the opening credits with the rest of the film. However, this opening scene was quite effective and started the film with a jump - creating an eery atmosphere for what was to come. The big reveal in the third act of the film is very far-fetched and is a little underwhelming and does spoil some of the film - however, I will touch more on this later but the same reveal is used in a different horror film and I still managed to enjoy that. 'The Further' is also quite underwhelming but is still a little creepy. The film also had a very open ending which explains why Insidious: Chapter 3 was given the green light - it comes out June 5th 2015.
Some of the camera work was actually quite unique and impressive - it is unusual that you notice this kind of thing in a horror film. After the opening credits, the camera is extremely far away from the room the characters are in and it slowly moves in - this made the film feel very retro and old fashioned but it worked! A hand held camera was also used for some sequences in the style of 'found footage' - now, if you've read my previous reviews, you will know how much I hate food-footage so I was surprised when I thought Project Almanac wasn't that bad. The found footage works well here too!- am I being converted? The camera style really makes you feel immersed and I only think this works because it switches between handheld camera and the style that a standard film would have.
Now, lets talk about the scares. I believe that Chapter 2 is a lot tamer than the first instalment - it could have passed with a 12 rating in the UK (it got a 15). Most of the jump scares were effective but there were some that failed that were scary at first but soon became unrealistic and laughable. For example, the monster that says 'he's got your baby' provided a laugh - a human sized Gollum.
This movie accidentally has a lot of connections to previous movies. In one scene, Renai (Byrne) hits the antagonist (don't want to spoil it) with a frying pan over and over which reminded me of TANGLED. In another scene, there is a random red door that transports the characters to a new area - reminding me of MONSTERS INC. However, I mentioned this earlier but the reveal at the end is very similar to THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET - a lot of loose connections to this film and some are from the opposite genre!
So that acting...it is fantastic! I think Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are perfectly cast in their roles and they both do brilliant jobs! I think this is one of the only horror films from Blumhouse that has a recognisable cast - they usually go for rising and amateur stars! Shaye was also good but basically plays the same role she played in Ouija even though this character was developed first. The child actors were also very good (for once). The thing that I really liked about this movie that it explores abusive and conflicting relationships - even though there is a supernatural element, I feel that a lot of the reactions would be very similar to real life - I like how horror films like this, The Babadook, Unfriended and even It Follows (even though I wasn't a fan of that one) are able to stay in the horror genre but explore real life topics.
Insidious: Chapter 2 is an improvement on its predecessor in most areas - the story is a lot more intelligent but it is also a lot tamer. Byrne and Wilson portray a couple in a conflicting relationship perfectly and Wan has another movie on his resume to be proud of. Scares are generally effective but a bunch of them provide more laughs than screams. The big reveal isn't too original as it was done in 2012. There are some really cool camera techniques that bring an old fashioned element to the film. Despite the low budget, Insidious: Chapter 2 is a twisted, unintentional easter-egg filled, deep and satisfying horror flick. Next chapter please!