Insidious was the first horror film that I had to watch as the Radio 1 film critic so it was almost with fond memories (almost) that I prepared myself for the second. My routine is: scarf at the ready so I can cover my eyes, fingers ready to stick in my ears when the scary music begins and lots of water so it’s a plausible excuse to leave the screening room when I ‘need to go for a wee’. This review may contain spoilers of Insidious so if you haven’t seen it and want to, don’t read on…
At the end of Insidious, we are left with the insinuation that Josh (Patrick Wilson), the dad of the family, may not be who he seems. Watch the end moments of Insidious here to see what I mean. Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up where the last film finishes, the family are still being terrorised by ghosts and the old woman in the veil is still hanging around but who is she?
Insidious: Chapter 2 trailer
Insidious: Chapter 2 was extremely jumpy, even when you knew the scares were coming (thanks to the impressive build-up of screamy tension music) and it included a lot of the typical horror clichés - women in mirrors, ghosts in wardrobes, séances, an independently playing piano and an old house with lots of dark nooks and crannies. What I really enjoyed about Chapter 2 was the effort the film-makers went to explain the goings on, as though if it were real, it would be logical. I like that sort of futile reasoning, the insistence that if it was a true story, it would make sense. Except it’s not… But if it were…! The film flashes back to when Josh was a child, explaining why the family have a tendency to wander into The Further (the afterworld) and showing as that Elise, the psychic, has had a much longer history with Josh than he remembers. I was glad of the sequel, it gives us a chance to get to know the characters intimately, except perhaps Renai, Josh’s wife and a return by Rose Byrne, whose main characteristics are to scream and get beaten up by ghosts.
It’s perhaps not as hard-core as some horror fans would like but it’s accessible and has a plot that’s worth following, which is more than can be said for The Conjuring, the other 2013 horror entry starring Patrick Wilson, from director James Wan.