Take it from a huge fan of both horror movies and the members of the so-called “Splat Pack”; there are a few things you need to know about viewing a James Wan/Leigh Whannell film:
1) The scares will always be real. There won’t be clichés or cats jumping out when we’re supposed to think it’s the killer. Every scare, every frightening moment, is earned.
2) You can’t miss a second. There are never really any filler scenes in a Wan/Whannell movie; every moment is important and vital information/plot points could come at any second. And even the things you don’t understand will all come together at the very end.
3) There is no such thing as a happy ending in a James Wan/Leigh Whannell horror film.
All that said, I have been looking forward to Insidious Chapter 2 since the day I heard it was being made. Partly because I am a devoted fan of the two filmmakers, and partly because the first Insidious was such a great horror story; I couldn’t wait to see where they’d go with a new story.
It took all of 1 minute into this sequel for me to know that this one was going to be much, much better than the original. The suspense started building from the first minute of the opening scene. Clues are laid out as to where the plot will go from that opening scene, and it was really nice to see that the non-linear elements of a Wan/Whannell horror film were there, as we immediately see that the opening scene takes place decades before the first film ever happened.
If you’ve seen the first film, you know what to expect this time around. Two of the Lambert family males have the ability to astral project when they are sleeping. This means they have an out of body experience during sleep that allows them to travel in another world. Sounds cool, but this other world isn’t some place you actually would want to be. In the first film, the son Dalton gets lost while in this other world, and can’t find his way back. Dalton’s grandmother reveals that Dalton’s dad, Josh, has the same ability, and so he is sent in to find his son. He does this, but at the end of the movie it becomes apparent that he has brought something (or someone) very evil back into the real world with him.
And this is where we find ourselves in Insidious Chapter 2. Josh has brought an evil spirit back with him from the other world, (a spirit that has killed the paranormal expert who’d been helping them, and made it look like Josh did it). The Lambert family must figure out how to get rid of the spirit (and what it wants); and how to survive in the meantime until they are capable of getting rid of it.
There are definitely a lot of twists and turns along the way, so it’s hard to talk about the plot without giving too much away. What I can say is that this movie will scare the pants off of even the most devoted and jaded horror enthusiast—myself included.
Insidious Chapter 2 is one of those rare horror films that comes along that is actually “about” something. It effectively tells a story without being campy, cheesy, or so ridiculous that it’s laughable…This is not to say that the film isn’t fun: in fact, it’s a lot of fun, and there are quite a few humorous moments that make you let your guard down and actually laugh enough to take your mind off of being scared silly for a while.
I’ve experienced a lot of movies where, for all the good in it, there are a lot of dull moments where nothing really happens—the kind of scenes you just know you’ll end up skipping past if you actually buy the movie. There were no such moments in this film. Every scene was basically an adrenaline rush. In this way, Chapter 2 was a lot more fast-paced than the original. In fact, some of the scares are so subtle and quick, if you blink you might miss them.
The suspense and tension are so thick in this movie, and that only adds to what makes it so much fun to watch. Even when you know something scary is about to happen, Whannell and Wan let the tension build to the point that just when you think you might have been wrong, here comes the evil.
Was this a fun time at the theater? Yes. Would I recommend it and go see it again? Absolutely. It does what so many horror movies fail to do these days: actually frighten you and make you jump. And it has the classic “it’s never really over” not-so-happy ending that James Wan and Leigh Whannell are known for.