Insidious Chapter 2 picks up moments after 2011’s Insidious ends. Considering the monster smash director James Wan and his co-creator Leigh Whannell had with the original film (that topped the Movie Fanatic Top 10 Horror Movies of 2011), it’s a lot to ask that their sequel meet that wildly original horror fest. Then again, with the success of their The Conjuring this past summer, these guys are on a serious roll and could have the Midas touch.
What is so fascinating about Whannell’s script for the sequel, based on his and Wan’s story, is that Insidious Chapter 2 in fact possesses a completely different feel. Where horror was emitted from questions that many of were never answered in the original, the sequel almost serves to simultaneously answer those questions while setting up the Insidious brand for subsequent chapters.
When we met Wan for the debut of the Insidious Chapter 2 trailer, he admitted that the series – in his mind – was never meant to be one story. What audiences adored two years ago was simply the beginning.
What compels about walking out of Insidious Chapter 2 is that where the story goes from here… is not at all what you would expect. And that is exactly why Whannell and Wan have had great success in their horror stories since 2004’s Saw. Audiences and movie pundits think they have this dynamic and devilish storytelling duo figured out... and then they do a 180.
Sure, we said the story picks up right where Insidious left off. That’s not exactly true. Audiences are treated to the origins of Josh Lambert’s (Patrick Wilson) “gift,” as Elise (an impeccably cast Lin Shaye) calls it, and we meet him as a boy. That fateful beginning to the Insidious journey will permeate not only Insidious Chapter 2, but everything dating back to the beginning of the first movie.
And Wilson is given so much to work with this time out. He was spectacular as a father grappling with the “loss” of his child in the first movie, and in the sequel, Wilson’s Josh is not quite all there. It is a supremely subtle performance of ever-building madness. Wilson recalls Jack Nicholson in The Shining in many ways. And Rose Byrne as his wife Renai gets her moments to shine as well, as she is slowly unraveling as the madness in her family grows ever deeper.
As this Insidious Chapter 2 clip shows, Byrne is talking to a detective investigating what happened at the end of Insidious. That is truly where our story begins. And from there, all bets are off as to where it will go. One thing that is constant between our two films is the presence of Whannell’s Specs and Angus Sampson’s Tucker.
Yet, in Insidious Chapter 2 they provide an often humorous beat amongst the terrifying tremolos Wan orchestrates throughout his film. There wasn’t a lot of humor in the first film. That is just one way of many that the two movies could not possess a more diverse tone.
Our Insidious Chapter 2 review finds that also, the second film is not as scary. Then again, maybe it wasn’t meant to be and all along it was seen as a companion piece to Insidious by Whannell and Wan. I would love to see these films back to back as they seem to be meant to be viewed that way.
Then as the credits rolled on Insidious Chapter 2, it would be off to the races for Insidious Chapter 3 and its whole new bag of insidious insanity.