I’ve said it many times before – I prefer the “less is more” approach to horror movies; having said that, I loathe 98% of the PG-13 scary movies out there. Why? Because away with the gore, swearing and nudity goes the plot and intelligence. Most PG-13 horror movies pander to adolescent teenage minds as opposed to those who have been watching “real” (mostly R-rated) horror movies for decades. I understand what it means to know your audience, but most PG-13 horror movies lose the audience that loves the genre the most. Luckily, we have filmmakers like Sam Raimi and James Wan to show how strong teen-friendly scary movies can be – and Insidious: Chapter 2 is yet another bright example.
Chapter 2 plays out like a solid continuation from the first; therefore, without knowing Insidious, there’s no way that you’ll be able to follow Chapter 2. It kicks off with a flashback sequence of Josh in his youth, but immediately leaves us right where the first one left off: Josh (Patrick Wilson), the father of the family, has retrieved his son Dalton from the underworld. And although their return seems to be a success, we quickly get the impression that Josh was left behind and a demon has occupied his body. After the intro, we see Josh being interviewed by the police about the dead demonologist’s body. As we continue to suspect that Josh isn’t who he seems, so does his wife Renai (Rose Byrne). With the help of two young ghost hunters, Josh’s mother (Barbara Hershey) and a clairvoyant from the family’s past, Renai must uncover the truth about her husband and find a way to make things right again.
I haven’t the slightest clue as to whether Insidious was originally written as a trilogy (or more), but the way that Chapter 2 plays with the concept – revisiting moments from the first film and giving them new meaning – sure makes it feel like it written alongside Insidious and serves as a section of a much larger picture. Chapter 2 never once feels like a cheap attempt at making a few bucks by turning a hit movie into a franchise. The entire cast of Insidious has returned for Chapter 2, but don’t expect it to end here. Steering clear of a cliche horror movie ending that tries to make you jump or doubt the film’s resolution, Chapter 2 ends with a great segue to the almost certain Chapter 3. Insidious was made on a microbudget of $1.5 million and earned $97 million at the worldwide box office. Insidious: Chapter 2 was made on a budget of $5 million, so the returns are also likely to be high – if not higher. Considering the ongoing success of director James Wan (his $20 million July 2013 film The Conjuring earned more than $259 million at the worldwide box office), there have to be plans laid for a third chapter.
If you haven’t seen the original Insidious, check out it. The first film is reminiscent of the classic horror movies of the ’80s, in particular the Greatest American Hero’s film House. It’s full of tension and shrouded in mystery. I couldn’t be more pleased with the direction that Chapter 2 went. It’s also extremely tense, full of puzzles and absolutely entertaining. The ongoing lack of security and safety solidifies a scary tone that most R-rated horror movies cannot conjure. If you saw and enjoyed Insidious, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy Chapter 2. If you haven’t seen Insidious, now’s the perfect time to catch up.
Photo credit: FilmDistrict