INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2
By Bill Gordon
"Ten steps back and no steps forward"
James Wan isn’t exactly a bad director. ‘Saw’ was a brilliant thriller/mystery/horror, before it got overloaded with too many ideas, ‘Dead Silence’ wasn’t great, ‘Insidious’ was incredibly mediocre with little scares and ‘The Conjuring’ was another mediocre attempt, despite being a nice throwback to 70’s horrors such as ‘The Amityville Horror’ and ‘The Exorcist’. I believe his strength lies in visuals and intensity, unfortunately any tense moments are usually delivered with poor/clichéd scares. He provides great make-up effects in the majority of his films, but we can’t exactly give him the credit for all of that. When you watch ‘Saw’ you can see he isn’t a bad director, and I believe he has the strength to provide decent films, however, so far it seems with every film he releases he’s taking two steps back and one step forward, or if we’re talking about ‘Insidious 2’… ten steps back and no steps forward. That’s right, I didn’t like ‘Insidious 2’, the sequel to his 2010 horror, released just a couple of months after his last horror release, ‘The Conjuring’.
‘Insidious 2’ carries on straight after the first film, so if you haven’t seen it you may feel a little lost. This time the Lambert family search to uncover Josh’s childhood secret that keeps them linked to the spirit world.
The opening of the film takes place during Josh’s childhood. Jocelin Donahue (The House of The Devil) plays a young Lorraine, along with Lindsay Seim as a young Elise Rainer who, for some unknown reason, has the voice of Lin Shaye (the older Elise) poorly dubbed over her; it can only be described as a parody of dubbed foreign language films. The real question is what is good about ‘Insidious 2’? Well… There are some nice uses of handheld camera that had a lot more potential, a few intense moments, that are executed with pure laziness and there are also some nice locations such as an abandoned hospital, terrifying right? Well it could have been.
The actors/actresses can do better than this. Patrick Wilson is a decent actor, Rose Byrne and Lin Shaye are also decent actresses, but instead they are given poor dialogue such as “OH… SO THAT’S WHAT THAT MEANT” delivered with an I-don’t-want-to-be-here attitude, and “I’VE MISSED THE FEELING OF PAIN, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I’VE MISSED INFLICTING IT ON OTHERS!” which again was delivered half-heartedly. Much like the methods used by the characters in the film itself, It feels as if James Wan and screenwriter, Leigh Whannell, used scripting methods such as throwing worded dice on a table, seeing what words they can find and creating a story out of them. They tick off almost every box on how to kill a horror franchise in the first sequel, including time travel, comedy and extreme Déjà vu. When it’s not ripping off ‘Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban’ it’s recycling everything that was in the first film, while at the same time managing to take anything that was remotely creepy about the first film, and completely throwing it out the window. Whereas James Wan’s films usually succeeded in make-up effects, this time around he powders some people’s faces and passes them off as spirits/ghosts.
When the audience laugh at everything BUT the scenes with comedy in it you know the film is failing. James Wan is like a child with too many ideas, and we have to watch as he tries to squeeze all those ideas into one hundred minutes, resulting in wackiness and stupidity; you wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow managed to bring dinosaurs and aliens into the story. Along with these wacky and silly ideas, they go back to ripping off ‘Poltergeist’ and this time around ‘The Shining’ as well. ‘Insidious 2’ is incredibly boring and is an example of why more is less and less is more. During the screening a friend of mine leaned over to me and compared the film to ‘Troll 2’, but I can’t help but see that as nothing but an insult to ‘Troll 2’. ‘Insidious 2’ is a sequel that should not have been made; it is possibly one of the worst horror sequels ever made, it is predictable and extremely messy. The best part of the whole screening was the ‘In Fear’ trailer right before the film; a nice reminder that there are still decent horror films out there. The sad part about all of this is that another sequel is inevitable.
Follow Bill on Twitter: @2FlashGordon7