‘Insidious 2’ Review Roundup: Critics Mixed On James Wan’s Horror Sequel
Insidious: Chapter 2 closely follows the first Patrick Wilson-starring Insidious movie, picking up from the 2011 film’s final scene. Josh Lambert (Wilson) has returned from the realm of “the futher” with his demon-communicating son. Yet, Josh may have returned from “the further” as a different man than the one that went there and saddled with the same curse that’s plagueing the house – moving toys around, throttling his wife (Rose Byrne), and messing with the baby monitor.
While some critics believe that James Wan ably took the first film into a scary supernatural second, others believe that – at least creatively speaking – the story peaked in its first telling:
“The sequel's not bad; it's not slovenly. Some of the jolts are effectively staged and filmed, and Wan is getting better and better at figuring out what to do with the camera, and maneuvering actors within a shot for maximum suspense, while letting his design collaborators do the rest. But Leigh Whannell's script is a bit of a jumble, interweaving flashbacks and present-day action, setting up parallel action involving "real" world hauntings and simultaneous, nightmarish goings-on in the supernatural limbo known as "the further." – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“Predictability lurks in every dusty nook of this sequel. It incorporates hackneyed tropes — pianos suddenly starting to play, children's toys coming to life, the sound of infant screams emanating from baby monitors and that creaky old staple, terrifying monsters lurking in the closet. Children are the targets, and a malevolent old hag is behind the mayhem. But despite its endless string of clichés, Insidious 2 is convoluted, illogical and unintentionally, stupidly funny.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today
“There are some good things to be said about Insidious: Chapter 2, though none of them have to do with the acting, directing, writing, lighting, sets, costumes or effects. As a business model, however, this burgeoning horror franchise is some kind of masterpiece.… The demon-dad angle gives Chapter 2 a chance to rip off The Shining, but it also goes after Psycho and -- why not? -- Mommie Dearest. All of which might have been wackily entertaining if the whole thing weren't so sluggishly paced, poorly lit and dispiritingly unoriginal. At times, Chapter 2 almost seems like a knowing parody of a lousy horror flick. – Rafer Guzman, Newsday
“Wan and Whannell once again spin a ripping good ghost story here, populated by lots of restless spirits who ended their time among the living badly, a mother only Norman Bates could love, and a lyrical bit of time travel borrowed from Proust. They’re terrific pastiche artists, freely raiding our collective storehouse of horror-movie memories and arranging them in fresh, unexpected ways.… Where so many sequels seem like mere remakes of their predecessors, with bigger budgets and less imagination, Insidious: Chapter 2 feels like a genuine continuation of characters we enjoyed getting to know the first time around, and wouldn’t at all mind returning to again.” – Scott Foundas, Variety
Insidious: Chapter 2, rated R, is currently in wide release.
– Chelsea Regan
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