If you don’t see any other horror movies this year, go see Insidious: Chapter 2. Despite not seeing Insidious for fear of some serious nightmare action, I went to go see the sequel because I decided to woman up. Besides, someone had to do the review, right? By the time I left, I left utterly satisfied and creeped out… But that was after I forced myself to stay. I wanted to run out.
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I got there at 7 minutes into the movie. By that time, a young Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) was at Josh Lambert’s house trying to rid him and his family of his unfortunate talent for attracting ghosts and demons. Naturally, Elise is in a completely darkened room, and upon opening a closet is attacked by an evil entity. That’s when I walked in. I couldn’t see an inch in front of me and it looked like the movie theater was empty. Between the ghostly happenings on screen and the darkened theater, I decided I’d made a mistake and decided to hightail it out of there. Luckily, Elise decided it was time get scarce and that added some light to the theater, and I was able to see there were people right behind me. Then, and only then, was I able to calm down…
That is until the film title shows up on the screen in big, textured, red letters with music so eerily dramatic, that I wanted to run back out again. Skeeved out within 15 minutes of being at the movie, I figured I was in for a thrill ride and James Wan and Leigh Whannell sure did ensure that was the case.
Some horror movies have pointless side stories and scenes in an effort to fill time. Insidious 2 spares you all of that trouble by actually doing horror correctly, taking time to explain the reason for Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and his family’s ghost and demon problems, both past and present. Editing was a big part in the success of the film, and coupled with the haunting, creepy and frantic music, viewers experience an attack on their fight or flight senses that definitely indicates “flight” is the best option. All of the technical elements of the film, lighting, music, audio and effects, were terrifying on their own. Add them together, and you’re on your way to an outstandingly done horror flick.
Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) is superb as Josh’s tormented wife. Poor Renai needed a whole bar full of shots and whiskey on the rocks to calm her poor nerves. Unfortunately, relief didn’t come anytime soon, as she had to be a mother, a wife and a fighter to save her family. Byrne conveys the millions of emotions anyone in her position would experience very well. I wanted to give her a hug the whole time. I also thought Lin Shaye did a great job, especially at the very end of the film. Seriously, watch her face. She literally terrified me. Patrick Wilson delves into madness as the deranged, possessed dad very convincingly–a few nods to The Shining were present–but I felt that less would’ve been more towards the end of the film in regards to the makeup he donned. I’d also like to give an honorable mention to the ghost lady we saw in the commercials wearing the white dress. Played by Danielle Bisutti, she played the evil spectre so very well. She was able to capture a truly unhinged, batshit crazy woman with serious issues seamlessly. The movie would have lacked a certain panache without her, so props to her.
Overal,l the acting was very convincing, which added to the an already winning formula.
“The Further” made its appearance again, and it is truly the stuff of nightmares. James Wan once again showed his directorial prowess as he was able to capture a gloomy, tragic place that is exactly how I imagined an evil, ghostly shadow realm would be. The only place more horrific is the home of the actual entities that are haunting the Lamberts. Talk about a screwed up childhood.
There was some comedy relief from Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), but at times I felt that their presence was a bit useless. They served a purpose, but they were so bumbling at times, I felt like anymore of their snarkiness and we’d have comedic elements that detracted from the overall terror.
The ending is definitely open to an Insidious 3, and I for one will be there when it comes out… With a flashlight… And definitely not alone.