Insidious: Chapter 2
insidious | insidious: chapter 2 | sequel | james wan | leigh whannell | patrick wilson | rose byrne | barbara hershey | thriller | canada | united states | haunted | ghost | possession | possessed | ghosts | lin shaye | ty simpkins | steve coulter | angus sampson
Film: Insidious: Chapter 2
Director: James Wan
Writer: James Wan and Leigh Whannell
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey
This film I was excited to check out, but I was a bit disappointed that first time around. I hadn’t seen it since that one time after I picked up the DVD. I did now give it a second viewing as part of the Summer Challenge Series over on the Podcast Under the Stairs as this popped up on the 2013 list. Jaime and I also watched this together as she did watch the original with me and it freaked her out. The synopsis is the Lamberts believe that they have defeated the spirits that have haunted their family, but they soon discover that evil is not beaten so easily.
We pick this up where the last one left off. Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) is speaking with Detective Sendal (Michael Beach). He is trying to figure out who killed Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye). The prime suspect is Renai’s husband of Josh (Patrick Wilson) and we know that he was the one who did it. He might not be in control of himself though.
We then jump to 1986 when Josh was a child, being played by Garrett Ryan. His mother of Lorraine (Jocelin Donahue) is concerned about him, because he is troubled and the doctors don’t know why. She decides to go a different route and seek other help. Carl (Hank Harris) shows up with his camera and he calls in a younger Elise (Lindsay Seim being this version) to help. She is a clairvoyant and he is there to film what is happening. They know there is a presence there, but they can’t stop it. It is decided to make him forget about it. Before he does, there is a weird instance while the boy is hypnotized and speaks with someone, points and a door opens.
We shift back to the present. Josh wants to just forget about everything that happened and move on. Renai is still noticing that they are being haunted. There are pianos playing, a toy turning on by itself and seeing a woman in a white dress with a pale face. The woman isn’t very happy either. Lorraine (this older version played by Barbara Hershey) is noticing things as well. Everyone is pretending to not upset Josh.
Renai and Dalton (Ty Simpkins), her son, notice there is something wrong with Josh. He heard him talking to someone who isn’t there during the night. Renai does what she can to comfort him that everything will be okay. I should also point out, the family also includes another son of Foster (Andrew Astor) and baby sister Kali (Brynn and Madison Bowie).
The two guys who helped out Elise in the first film are back in this one as well. Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) go to her house. They figure out that the trouble is still going. They enlist the help of Carl. Together they learn the history of what has happened to this family and see Elise’s records about it. They also decide, along with Lorraine, to contact Elise’s spirit for help using Carl’s blocks. These are interesting as they’re rolled like dice but spirits use them to answer questions.
They need to figure out the truth of this Bride in Black before it is too late. We see that it is having a physical effect on Josh. It is also pushing him to do things he doesn’t want to. On top of that, there is this other ghost, played by Danielle Bisutti, which is quite violent as well.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and I was to re-iterate that I loved the first one. I didn’t know much about it and had low expectations, but it blew me away. This one had some big shoes to fill. What works is that they took what the original did and expanded on it. It ties in things that happened in the first and shows you more of it, which I thought was good. This one gives us more information what happened to Wilson as a boy and it explains what is happening to him now.
This will be where I want to delve a bit deeper first. We get to see what Elise says in the beginning when she shows up in the previous movie. Josh doesn’t remember as the memories were repressed to help him. We see that this Bride in Black wanted to take him over back then and we get to learn why. Things started to come back to me as this movie went on and it makes it horrific. I brought them up to Jaime and she didn’t see the correlation, but this movie does well in explaining it. I also like how they incorporate this other ghost that is attacking Renai and Kali. The investigation here works, but Jaime brought up a good point. There is a time where they go to a hospital that Lorraine worked at and there are still medical records there. This wouldn’t happen and they still wouldn’t be there. It doesn’t ruin the movie, but it is an issue.
To shift gears here, this movie does something with time that I’m a sucker for. I’m surprised I didn’t like this movie the first time I saw it more as this is something that ticks boxes for me. While in the further, time doesn’t move linear and is more of a flat circle. We are able to see events from when Josh was a kid and the truth of what he said as well as who he was talking to. We also get to see a different side of events in the first movie. Some of this really works where other parts I think are just to establish things, but it is still interesting.
I do need to move this to the acting. We get a good performance from Wilson. There is the normal version of him that is trapped in the Further and then there is evil version in the real world. I liked to see him play the duality of this character. Byrne is good along with Hershey. They so badly want to help their family and do whatever they can. Shaye is good as well. I’m glad she was cast as this feels like her iconic role. Simpkins, Coulter, Whannel, Sampson and the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed in support. I also wanted to give credit to Bisutti and Fitzpatrick along with all those playing ghosts. They are effective with the scares.
Something else that was effective was the effects. I like the look of the Further. It is like our world, just black and there is mist. It is similar to purgatory or just where you go until you move on. Many times souls don’t. I like that it is bound to the rules of the real world. I like the look of the ghosts. This movie does rely on jump-scares. I will say they are well done. What is more impressive to me is the framing and the cinematography. It is top notch, especially when we will see something in the background or when someone walks past, the entity will disappear. This makes me uncomfortable in a good way.
Then finally I want to over the soundtrack. I didn’t really remember it from the first time, but it gives us more of the same from the original. This one isn’t as strong. We do get more of the stringed instruments like what I’m assuming is a violin. It helps build the atmosphere they’re for and build up the tension that is needed. This is well done for sure.
So then in conclusion here, I’m glad I gave this a second viewing. This is better than I remembered. It is taking what was done in the original and then building as well as expanding on those ideas. It is coupled with good acting along with framing, cinematography and a solid soundtrack. The movie might rely a bit on jump-scares, but they are effective as well. I have come up from the previous time I’ve seen this. I would recommend giving it a viewing if you like the original as this is just a continuation of the story. For me, this is a good movie.
My Rating: 8 out of 10