Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 65%
Overall Rating
Ranked #989
...out of 19,148 movies
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Connections: Insidious

The Lamberts believe that they have defeated the spirits that have haunted their family, but they soon discover that evil is not beaten so easily. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: August 4, 2017
While the first movie ended on a noir note that I loved, I can't say that I wasn't excited to get more of the story. Before I dive in, just be aware that there's no way to talk about this movie without discussing major spoilers for the first.

Although the Lambert family is reeling after the sudden death of Elise, they just want to move on with their lives. While Josh is an obvious suspect for the medium's strangulation, forensics quickly clear him and the family has moved in with his mother for the time being. Unfortunately, the paranormal happenings prove to be far from over, and Renai and Lorraine both start seeing a woman in white wandering around the house. Josh tells both of them to ignore them, telling them their fear will give them strength. Renai tries to listen to his advice, but Lorraine knows there's much more to going on, so she seeks out the advice of Carl, a medium who helped her with Josh's childhood predicament and Elise's assistants, Specs and Tucker. Together they contact Elise's spirit, who sends them on a mission to discover the truth of the woman who tormented Josh all those years ago. Meanwhile, Rose is trying to deal with that same spirit, now possessing her husband back at home.

I have to admit that I really wasn't enjoying the first half hour or so. You see, the first movie ended on the possession plot-point and that should have been the main focus of this one. Instead, the movie tries to toe the line and make the audiences wonder whether or not its true, while all these seemingly random occurrences are going on in the meantime. While it did eventually catch up to it and explain the first thirty minutes, I'm really confused as to why they would go the route they did. That plot point wasn't actually a reveal; it was explicitly revealed at the end of the last movie, so trying to play up an alleged ambiguity of it doesn't make much sense.

That aside, once they actually got down to telling the story, I started enjoying it much more. Other than focusing on Josh getting his body back, the primary focus of Chapter 2 is going back and explaining a few choice bits from the first movie. Things like delving into the backstory of the old woman who was haunting Josh or giving a reason for a handful of happenings that occurred. The interesting thing is that what they were explaining are all incidental events, so while the context of two gave them greater significance, they're not unexplained holes if you don't like Chapter 2 and want to ignore it. Personally, I liked the way the story played out, but there are plenty of people who enjoy the less-is-more approach. Hell, I'm typically one of them, and it's nice that it was handled subtlety enough that the option is there if you'd choose to disregard this sequel.

Featuring much of the same cast, it should come as no surprise that they were up to the same par as last time. While Rose Byrne again handled the trauma of their continued ordeal perfectly, Chapter 2 puts much more of the emphasis on Josh. Patrick Wilson handled the extra weight without breaking a sweat. It's especially impressive since he essentially had to play two different characters, and I had no trouble buying both of them. In another short role, Lin Shaye again brought a lot of emphasis to Elise despite being given a short amount of running time. From what I understand, she's the central focus of the next few movies, serving as prequels, and I have full confidence that she'll be able to carry them competently.

While I do have to admit I didn't enjoy this as much as the first movie, it did conclude the story nicely. Wan brought his eye for creepy visuals back in a way that continued his story when most sequels serve more as remakes. 7/10.
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