Insidious: Chapter Two (2013) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Insidious: Chapter Two (2013) Review

Horrorific content by Ciarán Coleman on October 02nd, 2021 | Movie Review | Possession, Supernatural, Demon

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It’s about the Lambert family trying to uncover the reasons behind their continued struggle with the malevolent forces from the spirit world that haunt them. It’s the sequel to ‘Insidious’.

Housing the same director, writer and actors as the first ‘Insidious’ movie, nobody quite knew what to expect from the sequel. In the end, the final result was pretty satisfactory, a decent horror flick that didn’t ruin the original, even without doing much to progress the series.

It will take what you love most.

Insidious: Chapter 2 Review

First things first, ‘Insidious: Chapter Two’ is fairly clunky and chock full of unnecessary scenes but it definitely succeeds in utilising its jump scares better than ‘Insidious’. The loud bangs and spooky noises are spaced out more naturally and allow the horror to settle into a nice place of unease rather than anticipation. This still doesn’t excuse the casual idiocy of several scenes that don’t seem to progress nor address the already fairly boring plot.

Either way, if the film doesn't want us to pull at loose threads there’s no big issue in letting them hang. There’s more than enough here to happily keep you watching without picking the film apart. The colour palette was a little less grey and bleak than ‘Insidious’ which I appreciated and made a lot of the imagery a lot more inviting and intense. Although James Wan doesn’t break any new ground with his directing or choice of scares in this film his directing is solid, providing a consistent tone and creepiness throughout the entirety of this film's runtime.

Patrick Wilson and Lin Shaye are back, both providing another excellent performance. Rose Byrne seems to have settled into the horror genre nicely here and gives a solid performance alongside the rest of the cast. Joseph Bishara’s score does wonders for the film, adding a cinematic scope to the minimalist style of filmmaking on display. He pulls it back a bit from the dramatic violin wails of ‘Insidious’ (though they’re still to be found, don't worry) and adds a more subtle creepiness that makes this film pretty effective late at night.

Where ‘Insidious’ went really old school, Leigh Whannel and James Wan allow ‘Insidious: Chapter Two’ to breathe and expand a bit more. I really loved the gothic, old fashioned vibe found in ‘Insidious’ but I’m glad this film branched out from that a little. There’s a reference to ‘The Shining’ with Patrick Wilson getting to go full Nicholsan on us and more subtle references to ‘Psycho’ in the form of a twisted mother/son dynamic. All in all, the homages are more fluid and the tone more subtle.

John Leonetti (the cinematographer for this, ‘Insidious’ and ‘The Conjuring’) alongside Wan’s love for slow moving, steadicam footage makes for some excellent imagery and intense moments. Wan’s anxiety-inducing slow pans and shots help put him a mark above most horror  directors, especially in the supernatural genre.

The film’s biggest flaw and greatest strength happens to be it’s striking similarity to its predecessor. It meanders around similar scenes and set pieces, wilting away any horror aspects found previously in the spirit world or elsewhere, bit by bit. However, the similar tone and consistent vibe make the transition between films very inviting and allows the two to sit side by side remarkably well. Whether the pros outweigh the cons is entirely up to the viewer and how much they liked ‘Insidious’. Fans of the first film aren’t going to find much to dislike about the sequel.

Worth Watching?

I think so. Watch ‘Insidious’ first and if you like it (there is a lot to like about both films) you’ll more than likely really enjoy ‘Insidious: Chapter Two’ from start to finish.

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