Director; James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Steve Coulter
Written by: Leigh Whannell and (story) James Wan
Running Time: 105 mins
Release date: 13th September 2013
Over the past few weeks my heart has been lifted by the current crop of horror films. You’re Next took the slasher horror and turned it on it’s head and James Wan’s The Conjuring, while not the most original film around, at least had some decent and effective scares. So Insidious: Chapter 2 should have been another step on the run. Instead, it has taken the genre two steps back because for all it’s cleverness, it’s just not scary and in fact, is rather dull.
Picking up the story from the first film, Renai Lambert still doesn’t feel things are right in the house. Objects are still flying around and husband Josh, who had to experience going into the netherworld, is not the same man he was. In fact there is a feeling that when he returned, he bought something back with him. It’s not long before the Lambert’s are under attack once again from spirits and an old friend of former psychic Elise, who had worked on Josh when he was a boy, could be the only one to connect the dead with the living and return to the world where a killer is out to destroy the Lamberts.
I had a problem with the original Insidious, in that it relied so much on the ‘quiet, quiet, LOUD’ form of shocks while ripping off a dozen or so other horror classic, none more so than Spielberg’s 1982 Poltergeist, right down to the nerdy ghostbuster types and a psychic with all the answers. So going into the second part I was expecting more of the same. I wasn’t disappointed. It was just that, with a weird, almost surreal final act that just baffled more than brought fear.
I genuinely thought that director James Wan had cracked it after seeing The Conjuring but this seems to have been made before that decent horror because everything that was right about that 70s based film was wrong here. It’s all well and good keeping the volume down low then boosting up the sound for the “behind you” moments but when it happens every couple of moments, it just becomes tiresome and you yearn for something more.
So how do you pass the time away while enduring this? Play spot the movie! Yes, once again Wan and writer Leigh Whannell have “borrowed” from loads of horror greats. Poltergeist still runs through it and now we have Psycho, The Shining and even The Sixth Sense is there, along with dozens of others.
There are some clever plot devices which links the two films (a sequence in which we see how the events of film one are revisited with new information is fun) but that still just doesn’t feel enough. What the audience wants (especially the ones I saw it with) are genuine scares and there are none. Nothing surprises. Nothing makes you stick your hands in front of your eyes and nothing makes you jump. It is all telegraphed minutes before and so you prepare yourself.
The performances are fine. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are always worth watching but even Byrne’s permanent surprised look stretches your patience a little.
I sound like I am moaning and I am, only because I know what Wan can produce and this just seems lazy and predictable. I was bored within 30 minutes in and the film just got duller and duller until the ending when I literally found myself saying “Oh really?” Sorry but I’d rather have a dozen You’re Next than have to sit through this again.