Directed by: James Wan
Distributed by: FilmDistrict
Written by Jeff Sparks
Once again James Wan directs the second chapter in the “Insidious” franchise with returning stars Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson, Rose Bryne, and Lin Shaye with Steve Coulter, Angus Simpson, and Leigh Whannell in supporting roles. In this direct sequel, the evil from the first film continues to torment the Lambert family. When Renai (Bryne) fears that her husband (Wilson) has been secretly possessed, Lorraine (Hershey) enlists the help of three experts to help her find the source of the demonic spirit. My major gripe comes at the beginning where Lindsay Seim plays a younger version of Shaye’s character in a flashback. In this scene, Shaye’s voice is dubbed over Seim’s. Not only is this distracting but it’s also unfair to Seim, as Hershey’s character is also in the flashback and her voice is not used but rather the on-screen actress’s is. With dubbing being my biggest pet peeve in all of cinema, this is a bad start for the film. Luckily, this is the only scene with this issue. Another notable step down is that in “Chapter 2” Wan doubles down on jumpscares, which were already overdone in the first film. As I explained in my last review of this series, I find Wan overrated as a director and this further enhances my point. Jumpscares are an easy tactic to startle audiences. Rather than using atmosphere or imagery to actually create frightening situations, Wan uses this tactic repeatedly to get cheap scares.
The film isn’t all bad though. One thing I liked is that Hershey is in more of a starring role this time around. Though the other two stars are sidelined, Wilson at least gets to shine with an unhinged performance as this sinister spirit. Like in the first film, the demonic realm called The Further continues to be an interesting concept. Here Wan and co-writer Leigh Whannell use time in The Further in a Nolan-like way where it bends in a circle, allowing those inside it to interact with events from the past. Although The Further continues to be the most interesting element of this franchise, I’m wondering how far it can carry it. Previously, the execution of the concept brought something entirely new to the mainstream horror genre. Here the addition of time being non-existent brings a new mechanic to the realm. What’s next though?
“Insidious: Chapter 2” Trailer