‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ plunges directly back into the multi-generational troubles of a haunted family. The majority of the cast, including Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey return in this fast paced, action filled horror.
If you haven’t seen the first film you’ll have to assume at lot, as very little is given to review the relationships between the characters or their individual backgrounds. We’re left assume their connections and significance from a few clumsy lines and knowing glances.
From the title card on it’s evident that returning director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell are not going for the subtle or psychological. Movies like this require at least some suspension of disbelief, but the cliché filled and over the top story stretch that to the breaking point. Time travel even seems possible.
‘Chapter 2’ is further sunk by some very frustrating performances ranging from the downright wooden to the cartoonish. Some rather witless and unnecessary comic relief subvert the already nonexistent tension and atmosphere.
Wan and Whannel all but throw the kitchen sink at you. You can check off your stock horror camera angles, baby monitors, falling chandeliers, cheap jumps, creepy nursery rhymes, surgical equipment, spontaneous mist, pianos with a mind of their own, crazy dads, crazier moms, and giant old houses with endless rooms to run through.
‘Chapter 2’ has a modern sheen to it, but it’s very reminiscent of a low budget 80’s action horror…but without any of the charm or spunk. There are familiar elements of ‘Psycho,’ ‘Sixth Sense,’ ‘The Shining,’ ‘Poltergeist,’ ‘The Exorcist’ and even the gonzo action of ‘Evil Dead’ mashed up into this. Is it a haunted house movie? A whodunit? A slasher? A supernatural fantasy? All of the above. At least you can’t say it’s boring.