Director: James Wan
Note to self, don’t watch this at night.
Insidious 2 takes all of the best parts of Insidious, which I just reviewed, and builds on them. It’s creepy, scary, down right terrifying, but still a blast to watch. You are going to spend the entire movie on edge, with your arm hairs standing straight up.
Without a doubt, Insidious 2 is better than Insidious. Instead of falling victim to the sequel curse, Insidious 2 uses its predecessor to create a great horror movie that is very scary.
With most of the characters already introduced, Insidious 2 gets to jump straight into the action. The flash back starts the movie off with intrigue and doesn’t allow you to get comfortable. It leads directly into the rest of the movie, and I love starting a movie fast.
Insidious 2, like I mentioned, follows Insidious directly. Elise has just died, and our characters are dealing with the aftermath. They can’t live in their home as the police are investigating the murder of Elise. Josh is the primary suspect, which creates even more issues, and the Lambert family is forced to move into Josh’s childhood home.
With the terror supposedly behind them, the Lambert’s attempt to get back to the lives they were living before Daulton’s coma. This doesn’t last very long, as Renai starts to see things similar to what she was seeing before. Bent on returning to everyday life, Josh convinces Renai to not saying anything and ignore the things she is seeing. This is easy to say, but eventually the ghosts become too apparent to avoid.
The plot itself is really good, relying on lore developed in Insidious to reduce the amount of explaining needed. Without a doubt, you need to watch Insidious before you watch Insidious 2. Everything contexts so tightly, and the movie will be confusing as hell without the context.
The ghosts in Insidious 2 are really interesting and a highlight of the movie. They are really creepy, but they are also developed characters. They aren’t just scary to be scary, there’s a story there. It’s also creepy and a bit sad, but it creates a more sympathetic villain. The build up around the ‘why’ for our ghost makes the story quite a bit deeper, and it also adds a subplot that furthers the story.
Not everything revolves around that subplot but it does make the movie easier to watch. There is no lull at any point, the movie just keeps moving along. If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed the pacing of Insidious 2. It works wonderfully not only for the plot, but also the horror elements present.
By moving quickly from point to point, the atmosphere doesn’t ever settle. Very early on Insidious 2 creates an unnerving environment and just fuels that with the plot and some visual effects. It’s works really well, and it made for a great watch.
Elise, played by Lin Shaye, continues to be the paranormal expert, although her role is pretty small on the account of her dying at the end of the last one. I like the character, and I think she is very believable in the role. The balance between confident and scared is a fine line, one that Lin Shaye walks perfectly. Elise’s assistants, Specs and Tucker, take over for her in Insidious 2, and they also put on great performances. Specs and Tucker provide a great balance, two characters that bound off each other perfectly. They are both weird and awkward in their own ways.
Without years of experience, they are less certain, more hesitant, and it takes away the reassurance that Elisa brought in the first movie. They still know their stuff, but it’s much more relatable to watch our ‘ghostbusters’ be scared of the very clearly creepy door or curtain opening.
We also meet Carl in this movie, Elise’s old assistant. He’s an interesting character who brings a lot of knowledge to the team, and he provides that link between the old and the new.
Both Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson put on great performances, but Wilson takes the cake this time around. The range he shows over the course of this movie is incredible. His character undergoes some serious development, and it stretches the character further than I had thought possible. Patrick Wilson does a great job of bringing a feeling of realism to his character.
Insidious 2 does an even better job with visuals and sounds. The score is great, using a variety of sounds to disturb the viewer. The music and the different sound effects are used heavily to create an atmosphere of terror, and it works magically. A lot of the creepy moments only happen due to the sounds you hear before you ever see anything.
With that being said, the visual effects are still quite good. Lots of practical stunts are used in Insidious, a calling card for the franchise. Like I mentioned in my previous review, these practical stunts add to the atmosphere as everything feels real. The ghosts feel real and extra creepy. The different objects and things moving are creepy. The crew really put in the work on this movie to create a very off putting atmosphere, and I loved it.
Insidious 2 is very similar to Insidious, but it does everything better. The pacing is better, the characters are about the same, and the plot is deeper. Insidious 2 uses the roots Insidious developed to spring board to new heights, and I am very excited to see where the third movie takes us.