“Insidious” sequel trumps first film
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 22:09
Although most sequels fail to live up to their predecessors, I still always find myself excited for them. The exception is horror: horror sequels not only never live up to the original, but they are usually never any good at all. There have been some good horror sequels throughout the years, but very few. That being said, I didn’t expect much from “Insidious: Chapter 2” despite the fantastic production team of director James Wan and writer/actor Leigh Whannel who created “Saw” and the first “Insidious.” I expected even less when the marketing campaign resembled that of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise. However, “Insidious: Chapter 2” manages to be one of the few great horror sequels better than its predecessor.
“Insidious” was a good original horror film, but it felt to me like the entire film was building towards something very big that never came, the PG-13 rating got in the way. While Josh’s attempt to save his son at the end by venturing into “the Further” was supposed to be the climax, the aim for a rating suitable for a young audience kept us from seeing anything too scary or in terms of the themes and subject matter. While the same applies to its sequel, (and I would have loved to see a darker and more mature film), they managed to bring enough thrills and mature material to push the rating higher and create an interesting film.
It picks up right where the first film left off. While Josh successfully saved his son, the woman in black who had been attempting to possess Josh since he was a child has finally left “the Further” and taken control of his body. The woman strangles Elyse, the psychic, and Josh’s wife is left wondering if her husband committed the murder. The police clear Josh and they move into his old family house while the investigation is occurring. What Josh’s family is not aware of is that this mysterious woman was a killer in her life and will kill again while Josh is trapped in “the further.” Luckily for us, Josh’s mother and Elyse’s two assistants from the first film investigate and begin to piece it all together.
The sequel is much darker and scarier than its predecessor. Rather than start off slow and build up, it comes right at you very early on and just keeps on coming. There are a lot of those cheap “jump moments” meant to give the audience a small shock, but even in these moments we see images disturbing enough to leave a lasting impression. I won’t spoil the plot and its twists, but the subject matter is a lot more mature this time around, and I was actually very impressed with the ideas Whannel and Wan brought to the table. It still feels a bit PG-13 and doesn’t deliver the same experience the duo gave us in “The Conjuring,” but it certainly will get your heart racing. The first half of “Insidious: Chapter 2” plays out like a sequel to “Poltergeist” followed by a strong homage to “The Shining,” but the mixture works out a lot better than you’d expect. Wan’s next project is “Fast and Furious 7” and he claims that this was his last horror film because he is tired of the genre and wants to do other things. It really is a shame because it seems that he is one of the few people in the horror business who knows how to deliver a good thrill.