By Christian Dimartino and Bryce Romig
There is a vicious cycle when it comes to scary movies. The original is released, it becomes an instant classic with a large fanbase; however, most of the time, the filmmakers do not leave the original alone. Instead, the director brings along a new form of terror: a sequel. About 99.99 percent of the time, the sequel never lives up to the original. So, going into James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2, the burning question on the viewers’ mind is this: Can it top the original?
Insidious, Wan’s 2011 movie that slowly gathered a cult like following, was one of the more effective scary movies in recent history. Wan hit another slam-dunk back in July with The Conjuring, an even better movie (and very successful and even critically acclaimed) which is among the year’s best. So, there is a lot of hype to live up to. But did he do it?
The sequel takes place directly after the events of the original. The Lambert family is trying to move on with their lives and recover from the events they had previously been through. But of course, since this is a sequel to a scary movie, the recovering doesn’t last very long. The wife Renai (the always terrific Rose Bryne) starts to notice strange occurrences again, including the behavior of her husband Josh (Patrick Wilson, the most overlooked actor in Hollywood), who she doesn’t reallytrust, due to events of the previous film.
Warning: Do not see this movie without seeing the original. It is not worth it. For confusion sake, just sit down and watch the original. The sequel will not be completely confusing, but either way the original is worth seeing. The original has a solid plot that is crucial to the second.
It’s always nice to see good acting in a scary movie. Like in the original, Wilson and Byrne nail it. The statement about Wilson being the most overlooked actor in Hollywood is true. This guy is great in Hard Candy, Little Children, Lakeview Terrace, among others, and he is still not a household name. Neither is the gorgeous Byrne, who is known for FX’s Damages and Bridesmaids. These two are in top form here. Everyone’s acting is solid, and it is nice to have almost everyone from the original (even Lin Shaye’s deceased character Elise).
At the end of the day, Insidious: Chapter 2 is not quite as captivating as the original. For Wan, this is a step down from the original Insidious and The Conjuring. Jumping out of your skin is guaranteed, yet the movie needed something more chilling. It needed more of Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the Tulips” or the freaky demon that had a close resemblance to Darth Maul.
It is a good movie, but some of it is uneven. Not quite all of it adds up. Also, the twist, while good, is out there, even for this movie. Insidious: Chapter 2, though flawed, is a consistently entertaining movie that is worth seeing. It works, just not as well as the original. But Insidious: Chapter 3, if it happens, is pushing it.
Regardless of a hard to follow plot and somewhat confusing storyline, Insidious: Chapter 2 is definitely going to leave you paranoid at night.