This past summer has had it's fair share of horror movies, including The Purge, The Conjuring, and You're Next, but none, in my opinion, break the horror mold as well as the sequel to the successful 2011 micro-budgeted, James Wan horror film, Insidious. Filled with great scares, interesting storytelling and a wonderful cast, Insidious: Chapter 2 is definitely one of my favorite horror movies to come out this year.
Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up mere hours after part one, showing the characters dealing with the events of the first film, including the death of paranormal investigator, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye). We are also treated to a short flashback to 1986, during Josh's childhood, which gives us some insight as to why the Lambert family is being haunted.
Returning to the director's chair is James Wan (Saw, Dead Silence), who recently had success with his film, The Conjuring, a haunted house film based on true events. Teaming up with writer Leigh Whannell (who worked with Wan on Saw 1-3, Dead Silence, and the first Insidious), this duo took a standard haunted house/paranormal movie and turned it on its head. Many people have compared the first film to Poltergeist, and if this is true, then the newest installment is like a combination of Psycho and The Shining. Sprinkle a little time paradox on there and you've got Insidious: Chapter 2. I know this sounds confusing, but don't worry, you're not left with many questions in the end, just enough to set up for a third installment.
All of the main characters from the first film make their return for the sequel. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne reprise their roles as Josh and Renai Lambert, the main protagonists of the first film. We also see the return of Ty Simpkins (Dalton), Lin Shaye (Elise), and Barbara Hershey (Lorraine). Even Elise's assistants Specs (played by the writer, Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) are back in action.
Rose Byrne gives a great performance in this film working side-by-side with Patrick Wilson (who I personally really enjoy as an actor). I love the chemistry they have with one another. Patrick's portrayal of Josh Lambert takes an interesting twist from the first time around, going from the hero to the threat and back to the hero. It's fun to watch him play both sides of the coin in the same film.
Fulfilling the roles of the comic relief are Specs and Tucker. While I enjoyed Whannell's performance as Specs, Sampson left something to be desired. His character seemed unnecessarily doofy and, at times, completely pulled me out of the movie. Luckily, the rest of the cast gave strong enough performances to pull me back in. Specs and Tucker gave a little too much comic relief, in my opinion. When I watch a horror movie, I want to be scared and stay scared. I want to feel the adrenaline pumping through my body. Some of their scenes completely took away from that feeling.
All-in-all, Insidious: Chapter 2 delivered what I hoped for, which was a great follow-up to a great horror movie, and with a third installment already announced to be on the way, I can't wait to see where this franchise goes. A must see for any fan of the original, and if you haven't seen the original, go rent it and then go out to your local theater and see this movie. You won't regret it.
Josh's Rating: 8/10