Review: Insidious Chapter 2
By Charlotte Castle - September 2013
Like so many other people who had the pleasure of watching Insidious, I was thrilled to hear the possibility of a sequel. However there was also much fear that the sequel would not live up to the great expectations of the public. You can imagine my happiness and excitement when I tell you that Insidious Chapter 2 proved to be an enjoyable, frightening and thrilling adaptation of the classic ghost story. This is definitely a sequel that James Wan must be proud of.
After their traumatic encounters with both the dead and the presence of a demon and travelling to the world of the dead to save the soul of their son, the Lambert family are now hoping to put the past behind them. Unfortunately the past is not finished with them, the disturbing performance delivered by Patrick Wilson as Josh Lambert is both subtle and unnerving as his behaviour has changed dramatically since his journey into the “Further”. The man who we all consider to be the father, the protector and provider for his family is slowly before the helpless eyes of the audience becoming the stranger, the enemy and the imposter. Rose Byrne portrays Renai Lambert as a very defenceless woman who although is determined to protect her family is also helpless against the forces that follow them. What I like about Renai Lambert’s character is how strong her mind is despite the odds. Her physical weakness allows the character to show a large degree of humanity which has allowed me to identify with her more as a person rather than just seeing her as a fictional character on the screen. The addition of Barbara
Hershey’s character Lorraine Lambert adds a nice tower of strength to the story. Barbara Hershey’s performance demonstrated a great level of depth and parental love for both her son and daughter-in-law and her grandchildren. Her display of love on screen is both touching and intensifying as we all want her to protect her loved ones.
The exploration of the ghosts themselves is extremely well thought out and carries a good pace throughout the film. It turns them into extremely formidable characters and the performance of the actors ensure the audience will certainly be frightened of them. My only wish was that they focused more squarely on the one ghost everybody was interested in - The old woman. Although the ghosts with a link to her past are interesting and provide excellent shock value, I found their presence to be quite tiresome. Their inclusion still, made no harm to the story and managed to add a good amount of depth to the character of the old woman. A lot of the screen time involving these new characters sometimes rob the audience of the chance to focus on the real monster.
What used to be a realm of mystery and the unknown, nearly becomes a social ground for the living and the dead to stop and have a nice chat, taking away the insecurity it could still have imposed if allowed to flow into the story instead of being forced in. As a result of losing the spark in the spiritual world, the land of the living has become a lot more frightening as the film harkens back to some familiar settings for horror films such as a large house or a hospital. Although they are very typical settings, the effect remains potent and intense.
Insidious Chapter 2 has demonstrated a remarkable contrast to the spiritual dangers humanity faces to the dangers we may have to face in our own world, exploring the views on murderers, insanity and mental abuse. I find it almost puts the question to the audience as to which world is truly the dangerous one.
As I watched the progression of the film, the restrained use of the ghosts sent a chill down my spine making me question if danger is present or not. This was the same method that grabbed my attention in the first film and I was delighted to see it used once again. The slow opening of the story creates an air of anticipation which is not as common in horror films as it once was, which I am glad to see is now starting to make a comeback. It raises questions that have been left unanswered from the first film and new ones yet to be explored. The concept of the ability to transport your soul into the regions of the “Further” is explored in much more detail in terms of its effects, living with the power and the risk it may also involve. However the problem I seem to find with this idea is that I fear they are over reliant on the concept of the “Further” that it slowly loses its ability to shock or to invoke fear.
Director James Wan has certainly created a duo of films to be proud of. His hard work and dedication to the film has undoubtedly paid off and he should hold his head up with pride. I look forward to any other films he may have up his sleeve with great anticipation and I would very gladly give this film eight out of ten.