The Ninjabot

Insidious: Chapter 2, Some Books Are Better Left Shut

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 11:10 pm by Jess Hicks

Alright gentle viewers, I am here to provide you with this warning, Insidious: Chapter 2 pales in comparison to the first. Actually, it entirely ruins what you though occurred in the first one for no reason other than they thought it would be fun…or something. Insidious: Chapter 2, after a brief flashback, picks up right where it’s predecessor left off, Renai is trying to explain to the police what happened and that her husband is not to blame for their medium’s death. Although, she is pretty confused about the whole thing herself and can’t really decide if she believes her husband is who he says he is. What follows is a cavalcade of plot devices and holes that will make your head spin and your eyes roll, from here on there will be spoilers but if I were you I’d read on anyway and save yourself a trip.

Cheese Upon Cheese!

I have viewed many a cheeseball horror film in my day, hell the first Insidious got pretty cheesy during the final act, and I do enjoy them. However, Insidious: Chapter 2 really takes it a step further into the realm of goofy and unneeded tricks and gimmicks. In the opening sequence we flash back to when young Josh Lambert was first being plagued b the woman in the black dress. His mother calls upon Elise to help rid her boy of these terrible dreams. Okay, that’s all fine and dandy I can dig adding a little back story but what happens during this sequence should have tipped me off for the rest of the film.

Specs & tucker

Young Elise is probably in her 20s or 30s during this sequence so she is obviously going to be played by a younger actress. Unfortunately dressing her the same and giving her the same and mannerisms was not enough for this movie. Oh no, what we really need is a voice over! Because that’s what everyone misses about old movies, shitty voice overs. Yes, apparently the audience would have had no idea that this was supposed to be the older woman of the first film without her doing a voice over for the younger actress and mind you, it’s terribly done. It’s too loud, the words don’t always match up and it’s actually kind of insulting to the audience.

Bad voice over’s aside there are a lot of silly lines and comedic relief, mainly from the original film’s jokers Specs and Tucker (I didn’t enjoy them in the first either), that just throws everything out of whack. The whole mood of the film is jarring and disorienting, I never knew if I should be scared, amused or just confused? And speaking of confusing….

Too Many Plots, Not Enough Sense

There is a LOT going on in this film and it all should tie neatly together but for the most part I felt like I was watching some anthology movie that loosely connected because of the wrap around story. We have Renai and Josh arguing about whether or not the hauntings have stopped, Renai’s run in with the Lady in White, Lorraine (Josh’s mother) reconnecting with tweedle dee and tweedle dum to try and connect with Elise on the other side, time travel (yeah….time travel…), the back story on the Black Bride from the previous film and how she connects with the new Lady in White.

Lady in White

I believe there is a time and a place for complex intertwining stories and this is not it. Every time we flipped from one story to the next I found myself becoming tired and aggravated. Sure, each of these things (except the time travel) were mildly interesting but we didn’t spend enough time with them to really care that much. I really would have liked to do more with the actual ghost story than with Josh’s “possession”  or their quest to find Elise and make her relevant again.

I’d like to take a minute to let you know the following is a MAJOR SPOILER for this film, if you do not wish to know stop reading now. 

Time Travel. 

Yep, because apparently a good old fashioned ghost story isn’t enough, we now need time travel to explain supposed hauntings. The original film had ghosts upon ghosts and did a fairly decent job explaining why they were following this family. Though “The Further” does play heavily from things like Poltergeist  and The Twilight Zone it was an interesting way to explain a limbo type setting. However, Insidious: Chapter 2 pretty much debunks what you thought was happening in the first film for the most part and I am going to do my best at explaining this catastrophe.

Carl Bride

When the Black Bride leaves the real Josh in The Further, he becomes trapped and doomed to stumble around with his plaid shirt and lantern for eternity. Until Carl, the medium friend of Elise, joins him and begins to decipher what the ghosts are saying because, I guess, Josh can’t see them…even though he is in the place where they exist. Right. Anyway, Carl points Josh to his old house where he begins to see hauntings from the first movie. Side note: When a horror film starts showing scenes from the original it is time to run far, far away. 

Remember in the first one when Josh and Renai are in bed talking about how she heard this weird sound on the baby monitor and then all of the sudden there is loud banging on the front door and the alarm starts going off? Of course you do! That was one of those nail-biting moments that the creepy trench coat ghost caused, right? Wrong. Actually that was Josh from Insidious: Chapter 2 trying to warn them there was a ghost on the front porch. So in a nutshell, Insidious: Chapter 2 wants to destroy the creepy, haunted atmosphere that the first one did such a good job of setting up!

Closing Thoughts and Missed Opportunities

Insidious, though flawed, had a great atmosphere and some really creepy moments. When I saw it in the theater I jumped and cowered and really had a good time. Insidious: Chapter 2 continues in the long line of horror sequels the reputation of being silly, forced, and not scary in the least. Even the way the movie was filmed was aggravating, using a mix of handcam visuals and really weird choices for camera angles and techniques.

Coming of The Conjuring I had really high hopes for this film but it looks like James Wan is going to be hit or miss for me. I still think he has a great vision and I’m hoping he is still working out some kinks. Leigh Whannell (aka Specs) is a decent writer but I think he could benefit with a co-writer, it would help in clearing up the main premise and maybe get rid of some of that cheesy dialogue. His upcoming film Cooties, which is coming from Elijah Wood as his directorial debut, is in post production so I am interested in seeing how it turns out.

Sadly, they really dropped the ball on this for me which doesn’t give me hope for the third installment (oh, like you didn’t see that coming). So if you decide to go see it, let us know what you thought! I am dying to hear from people who enjoyed it. Maybe I just had my hopes to high? I doubt it but hey, I can hope.

Insidious Chapter 2: D+


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