Insidious: Chapter 2Thursday 12 Sep 2013
Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye
Duration: 105 minutes
That poor Lambert family just can’t catch a break. Between the comas, demons, ghosts and possessions we witnessed in the first Insidious film it's a miracle that this lot are still around to make a second one. Sadly for the Lambert's their ordeal is far from over and even more sadly for cinema goers, neither is ours.
We rejoin the world's most unfortunate family where their last semi-spooky escapade left us. The Lamberts have been forced to move into grandmother Lorraine's (Hershey) sprawling old house that's even more creepy looking than the first home they abandoned– you'd think they'd just move into a nice modern semi-d? – and before poor exhausted mother Renai (Byrne) even has a chance to have a shower and a good nights kip, those pesky ghosts are back shouting at her down the baby-monitor, playing her piano and generally knocking her about the place.
Meanwhile Dad Josh (Wilson) is showing some typical signs of possession including talking to himself and pulling some unpleasant facial expressions while his mother Lorraine decides that it's finally time to get some answers about the entities haunting her family.
The first instalment in the Insidious franchise was a film of two halves, the first was a fairly decent tribute to classic haunted house films like Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror while the second took a turn down crazy street into a world of spirit projections and alternate dimensions.
Although the slightly more out-there aspects of the first film continue to feature in this one, Wan has managed to create a far more seamless film – albeit one with far less scares.
Where the first film had you jumping out of your seat without resorting to a-typical horror gags, this instalment seems as if Wan had a bucket list of horror clichés and was absolutely determined to incorporate every single one including creaking doors, abandoned hospitals, spooky rocking horses and the whole 'I thought it was just a lighting issue but there's actually a 6ft ghost in my photograph' bit.
Come to think of it, it's the actual ghosts and demons themselves that were one of the worst things about the film, almost comical in appearance with costumes and make up that looked like the DIY Halloween projects of a bunch of 11-year-olds.
The only possible explanation for these frankly unforgiveable mishaps is that Wan and his writing partner Leigh Whannell spent so much time constructing a story that thoroughly explained the reasons why the Lamberts were being haunted that they must have forgotten about the actual haunting itself.
Yes, these two horror aficionados penned a clever tale, even going so far as to re-shoot scenes from different perspectives to bring everything full circle, but in doing that they sacrificed the scares in favour of a series of unwanted explanations.
Insidious: Chapter 2 is by no means the worst horror film released this year. It's clever, well paced, decently acted and nicely shot but like a comedy that doesn't make you laugh or a Ryan Gosling film that doesn't make girls swoon, none of these things really matter because Insidious doesn't do the one thing it's supposed to – scare you.