October 16, 2013
I watched the first "Insidious" when it was released three years ago, and honestly I do not remember much about it. In fact, I recall that did not really like the film that much back then. My review of "Insidious" is posted HERE.
About "Insidious 2", at first I read many bad reviews about it. Therefore, I did not feel compelled to watch it. However I noted that three weeks after its local release last September 18, there are still a lot of mall theaters showing "Insidious 2". I felt I must have misjudged it since there are still a lot of people watching it up to now.
I decided to watch the first "Insidious" again before watching "Insidious 2". I must say, on second watching I thought the first "Insidious" was actually the excellent horror movie that it was touted to be back then. I must have watched it when I was not in the mood or something before, hence my lukewarm reaction at first. I liked it a lot better this time on re-watching.
Then, I went on to watch "Insidious 2" right away. Lo and behold, I now think this second chapter is actually a very good sequel after all. And this franchise is actually worth all the hype it has generated.
"Insidious 2" starts with a flashback to when young Lorraine was consulting young Elise about young Josh's bad dreams. We already know these events from Part 1. Then after the creepy opening credits, the story picks up from how the story ended in Part 1, with the aftermath of old Elise's murder and the possession of adult Josh by the Bride in Black. Now that Elise is dead, how can the Lambert family get rid of this pesky and increasingly malevolent spirit from tormenting their family?
The story will go as you may probably predict already, but there are several twists and turns that will still keep you at the edge of your seats and make you jump. I particularly like the fact that spirits in The Further could do time travel and affect events from the past. Of course, like all time travel devices, there will be plot questions that may arise. However, in this case, I thought this gave it a unique aspect that was very interesting.
Overall, "Insidious 2," though now lacking the freshness of ideas from the first "Insidious," still manages to give us the jumps and scares we crave for in watching films like this. It will also give us a lot of haunting and disturbing images and moments. Patrick Wilson (Josh), Rose Byrne (Renai), Barbara Hershey (Lorraine), Ty Simpkins (Dalton) and Lin Shaye (Elise) all reprise their roles creditably, with additionally richer dimensions. Scriptwriter Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson also return as ghost hunters Specs and Tucker to provide welcome comic relief, and they were funny.
James Wan, just fresh from his success with "The Conjuring" earlier this year, comes up with another winner horror film. Now I understand why "Insidious 2" has a longer-than-expected shelf life in theaters. I am recommending this one for horror film fans, but definitely re-familiarize yourself with the first "Insidious" film first. This is one of those sequels that really require you to watch the first one in order to enjoy it adequately. 7/10.