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Insidious Chapter 2



Insidious-Chapter-2-posterReleased: 2013

Directed By: James Wan

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

Gearing up for a departure from the genre that has made his name as he gets behind the wheel of the rejuvenated ‘Fast And Furious’ franchise, director James Wan seems determined to allow his audience to over-indulge on his particular brand of fright fests before bowing out. Already this year we’ve seen the compelling craft of period horror ‘The Conjuring’ based on the real-life paranormal exploits of Ed and Lorraine Warren, now he returns to the high-pitched hysteria of his most divisive work to date ‘Insidious’.

Still fresh from the Darth Maul-resembling threat that lingered throughout the first instalment, ‘Chapter 2’ sees the shaken couple of Patrick Wilson’s Josh and Rose Byrne’s Renai bearing the scars of such relentless torment. Bombarded by questions from the authorities of the horrific events that occurred previously, as Josh crossed over into a spirit world declared as ‘The Further’ to retrieve their eldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), the normality of family life shows no signs of reintroducing itself to the Lamberts.

Shifting the action to the confines of their Grandmother Lorraine’s house (Barbara Hershey), unrest continues to reign with Josh displaying peculiar bouts of behaviour, awfully reminiscent of the experiences he suffered in his early years growing up in the same home. Instantly making the link and eager to limit the odds of another tragic occurrence, Lorraine enlists the familiar help of nerdy paranormal investigating duo Specs and Tucker (regular collaborator Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson respectively) in order to seek and ultimately destroy the origins of such spooky activity.

Renowned for a ‘marmite’ third act, ‘Chapter 2’ sees director Wan attempt to justify ‘1’s audaciously sudden leap into ‘ghost world’ territory by enforcing a sense of consistency and bravely expand on the mythology already established. With a gung-ho approach befitting of his intended break from horror, Wan’s use of horror tropes is extensive and often effective, with fitting nods to the old school grainy aesthetic of VHS footage and the modern shaky cam ‘patrols’ that have saturated many a genre entry in recent years particularly well executed.

Whereas its predecessor was more sustained in its sinister and screeching nature, its sequel is far more reliant on a slow-burner atmosphere allowing the dread to linger, with its intended scares more of a fleeting jolt variety than nerve shredding terror. With such an elaborate and surprisingly cohesive narrative and the stakes heightened, its semi-serious tone suits the pacing as the plot threads flesh out in subtle fashion, yet inevitably jars with the film’s more tongue-in-cheek tendencies and certain performances.

Evidence springing from the progression of Patrick Wilson’s Josh as his unsettling descend into madness proves devilishly satisfying, without hamming it up too excessively, yet in comparison the retaining of Whannell’s/Sampson’s Specs and Tucker is awfully misjudged, as their attempts at sly comedy continue to sit awkwardly within the realms of its world.

‘Insidious Chapter 2’ is that rare commodity.. an improvement (albeit minor) on a divisive original. More refined in its key element and expansive in its plotting, its narrative may eventually become too convoluted for its own good. However, in a time when the genre is renowned for lazy cash-ins, Wan’s ambition is refreshing and admirable.

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