Writer/Director James Wan has already cranked out a successful film this year with The Conjuring and has now stated that Insidious: Chapter 2 will be his final horror film. This is a shame because while Insidious: Chapter 2 extends its mythos, the results are a bit of a mess.
The story continues in this film entry but starts with a flashback to 1986 in the Lambert household, more specifically Josh Lambert. While I appreciate the attempt of showing Elise at an earlier age in this scene and the idea of having Lyn Shane, who plays Elise in present day, overdubbing the younger version of herself to try and show consistency, it still sounds like a bad overdub. After the flashback, we continue following the Lambert family consisting of Renai (Rose Byrne), Josh (Patrick Wilson) and their two sons & their baby. Spooky stuff is still happening and they are trying to figure it out. Elise has passed on thanks to the trip to the Further from the first film so we are greeted with another medium in Carl, who was introduced in that flashback I mentioned. Carl’s schtick is he roles dice with letters on them in order to talk to the dead. Unlike Elise, Carl is a bit more afraid of what is going on with the Lambert family but needs to find some closure with Elise’s passing.
While it is clearly evident that the script by James Wan and Leigh Whannell have tightened their script a bit more than the script from Insidious, the characters really don’t get developed any further (no pun intended) than just people experiencing a bad situation. What is on display here is more production design and inventive lighting choices that will remind horror fans of Italian horror cinematography, ala Mario Bava & Dario Argento. The bride in black is further explained and even though the story behind that is laughable, I still think the continuity between the two films should still be commended.
James Wan knows how to scare his audience with the proper setups. One scene where Renai is home works out beautifully and is something to experience in the theater. However, the loud soundtrack stings that were apparent in Insidious return in this new chapter. It seems like if they continue this story further (seriously, I’m not trying to put puns in here), these loud scares will be featured as it has now become the gimmick of the Insidious films.
By the end, the film sort of just falls in a very laughable, almost satire-like, ghost story stereotype that dismisses what it did so well in the first film. Still for fans of what is now a franchise, given this films ending, you might want to check it out.