Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: Insidious Chapter 2

Image courtesy of Film District
And so here's the obligatory sequel of the week that you've likely not been waiting for. James Wan's "Insidious" is one of the few horror movies of the past few years that I've actually found to be frightening, inventive and fun.

It was a modest hit, which - for a horror movie - means an invitation for a sequel. And, not surprisingly, "Insidious 2" falls into the same category as the sequels to "Halloween," "Jaws," "The Exorcist" and "The Blair Witch Project." I assume you'd recognize that I'm not paying a compliment here.

As far as horror movie sequels go, "Insidious: Chapter 2" is not a debacle. If that sounds like faint enough praise for you, you could be the desired audience. My advice would be to watch Wan's recent "The Conjuring" or, better yet, "Insidious" rather than sit through this tired sequel.

To get into the plot would be a fruitless venture. Suffice it to say that in the first film, a young couple (Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson) discover that their young son is being tormented by a demon from a world to which he travels in his sleep known as The Further.

In this sequel, the family is still being tormented, but not by the exact same demon. There's a reasonably clever twist that explains why this particular demon, which makes an appearance in the first picture, is doing the tormenting. So, it's unfortunate that rather than doing something interesting with this concept, the filmmakers rely on the same increasingly tired jump scare tactics, creepy little children, doors creaking open and various other cliches that come to mind for these types of movies.

I once said that comedians do not necessarily become funnier by speaking more loudly. I can now amend that statement to also add that ghosts that move fast and scream loudly are not any scarier than their quieter peers. It might make you jump when something flies out of a closet, but that shows little in the way of filmmaking skill.

There's a sequel to literally everything these days. OK, maybe not to "Precious." But you know what I mean. And if you're as tired of seeing producers and studios milk every little ounce of creativity from every little intriguing idea that comes along, you'd be better suited to wait a few weeks, rather than seeing "Insidious 2." The fall movie season is, after all, on the way, so better cinema hopefully awaits us all.

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