James Wan, the man who brought the world the start of the Saw franchise… Who would have ever thought that the person behind a franchise that is infamously known as “torture porn” would be able to create such smart, genuinely creepy films as the first Insidious, The Conjuring, and now Insidious: Chapter 2? Wan is a true genius of the horror genre and I look forward to his future works. I almost wish he wasn’t directing the next Fast & Furious so he could focus on more horror films. At the same time I’m curious to see what else he can do with such a different kind of film.
Wan truly has a style all his own, which really allows for the scares to flow naturally and smoothly. Nothing feels forced or out of place, and thus his movies always outperform most other films of this genre. I normally dread PG-13 horror movies because they are almost always terrible. I would say once every 2 to 3 years there is a decent at best PG-13 horror film that doesn’t leave me wanting my money back. At present, for a great PG-13 I can’t recall anything since The Sixth Sense, aside from Insidious of course. Much like Tarantino, Wan’s visual storytelling is unique and identifiable within the first few minutes of any one of his films. It creates tension and unease and that’s what a scary movie really needs.
In the next chapter of this story about the Lambert family, we start right where the last film left off. Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) has just been murdered and the most likely culprit is the father, Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson). The question, however, is Josh really the man his family knows? What actually happened when he went into The Further to save his son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins)? Did Josh make it out unscathed or did something take his place? All this will be answered through a harrowing search for the truth behind Josh’s past that has ultimately wreaked havoc on him and his family. The dead want the one thing they no longer have, which is life, and will go to great lengths to obtain it. This is decades in the making and will change everything about this family.
I had a lot of faith in Wan’s abilities, but history says that two successful films in one year are very unlikely, especially if both of the movies are from the horror genre. Despite the odds, he achieved it with The Conjuring and now Insidious: Chapter 2. Not only did Wan direct, but he also co-wrote the film along with his close friend and co-conspirator Leigh Whannell, who also happens to star in the film as “Specs”, a ghost hunter of sorts. I knew I really liked this movie when I asked myself which Insidious film I like best and couldn’t outright decide. Both have similarities but then venture into different territories that make each movie great. The first delves into a situation and no one understands why it’s happening. The second explains that the events of the first are a result of past events in Josh’s life. Where I think the second film really shines is when it ties in so well with the first Insidious. It shows flashbacks to things that happened in the first movie and explains what was actually happening. It is in these moments that you can tell Wan wanted something more than just a stupid sequel to make some extra money, he wanted a story behind it all and he did a great job in his effort.
I can see this getting torn apart by the critics, but I can say with confidence that if you enjoyed the first, you will almost certainly love the second chapter. This time around the script allows for the actors to really flesh out their characters, especially Patrick Wilson. Once the hero of the film, Wilson takes on a much more sinister, or day I say insidious, role as a man with hidden demons trying to take over his life. If I had any complaints it would be that it kind of takes a while to get going but even that I attest to setup, storytelling, and character development so it’s not without purpose. This is a scary movie at its best and I think it will be a big hit this Friday the 13th.
Rated PG-13 For: intense sequences of terror and violence, and thematic elements
Run Time: 105 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell
Directed By: James Wan
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls