This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Dawn.com on the 7th of December 2013.
Jeepers, Creepers and Lost in Fog Screamers!
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
Yes, the cast of “Insidious” sees dead people. Almost everyone in every horror movie does. Insert *gasp* here.
Haunted cupboards, creaking doors, shrieking specters with white washed make-up: if one has seen “Insidious” – or perhaps any other ‘haunted house horror movie’ (not the hack-slashing stuff director James Wan started out with) – then there’s probably nothing in “Insidious: Chapter 2” that may scare you. Until, that is, you are primed to scare yourself. In that case, well, “Chapter 2”, really isn’t so bad.
Honestly though, it is ho-hum – and sometimes freakishly annoying. Mr. Wan’s other haunted house film, “The Conjuring”, is a far better substitute with the same tools. In comparison, “Chapter 2” is just a tensionless extension (which most sequels are, if the first part made tons of money).
We open moments after Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson, like the movie, ho-hum), comes back after rescuing their son from the lightless, smoke-clogged ether-world “The Further” and ‘takes care’ of friendly psychic Elise Ranier (Lin Shaye). Josh’s body is possessed by something (duh?!), and “Chapter 2”, which includes a lot of intercuts into Josh’s flashback, and some local home-horrors with wife Renai (Rose Byrne), takes an extended time to wrap things up…or does it?
Mr. Wan, who seemed to have a knack for building up scares with the usual horror devices, is partially lugging through “Chapter 2”. If you give a hoot about the “further” (which I believe is just a cheapskate way of producing a nether-realm of dream and demons), then chances are that Josh’s trip into this dreamscape, and the resulting lost-and-found bit, is worth the peril.
“Chapter 2” re-includes Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey), the returning ghostbusters duo Specs and Tucker (co-screenwriter Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson), and adds Carl (Steve Coulter), a medium who speaks to spirits with dices. “Every medium has his own way”, Carl says (or something close to the effect).
It is humorous – which may be a contradiction, since we are talking about jeepers and creepers and the occult – that professionals, whose subject of study are abstract with a large margin of hit-and-miss suddenly find the right answers at the flick of a dice. All they needed to do was ask, I think.
Did we ask for “Chapter 2”; in a way, yes we did. Are we asking for “Chapter 3”? No, but we’ll get it anyways.
Released by Footprint Entertainment and Film District, “Insidious: Chapter 2” is rated PG-13. Expect a lot of ghostly happenings and a lot of gasps (*gasp*, the furniture moved, *gasp*, the baby monitor picks up evil voices, *gasp*, my dad – and the rest of the family – sees dead people).
Directed by James Wan; Produced by Jason Blum, Oren Peli; Screenplay by Leigh Whannell (story by Mr. Wan and Mr. Whannell); Cinematography by John R. Leonetti with Editing by Kirk Morri; Music by Joseph Bishara;
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson and Steve Coulter.