Insidious: Chapter 2 (Rated: PG-13)
Whenever a movie ends on a cliffhanger and that cliffhanger makes you think that the hero didn't get away or something awful happened regardless of all the attempts to make things right in the film, I like that. At the final seconds of the first Insidious, which came out in 2010, that is what happened. It was a cool little moment that made you forget that the last 20 minutes you just watched really sucked compared to the rest of the movie that was pretty damn scary. If you're going to do a sequel that shows what happened right after that final moment, you take a risk that people like me will have a moment they enjoyed ruined. Not only did Insidious: Chapter 2 ruin that moment but they ruined a lot of thers too.
Director James Wan has been on a one-trick hot streak. He is the guy behind the original Saw but that was in 2004. It took six years for him to get a hit again and he did with the spook house creeper Insidious; it was good and made us realize that this guy was capable of scaring the crap out of us without relying on the excessive gore that was featured in Saw. But what was amazing was The Conjuring which was more of the same but elevated to a masterful level. However, that came out just a few months ago and this now follows on its heels and it has fulled the theorgy that when you pick quantity over quality mean quality suffers.
The good news is that the whole cast is back for more, including Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Hard Candy) who we just saw also in The Conjuring. His wife in the film, played by Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Insidious), is even better this time around proving that she's more than just a shrieking housewife. Even Lin Shaye (Something About Mary) is back, which you may think is a bit of a spoiler but considering how silly her return is, you might thank me for warning you about that.
Everything that spooked you about the first one is here again but in a far more condensed version. That's good because we're getting a little over Wan's haunted house tricks but it's bad because it's what we enjoyed about the first one. The reason why all the startles are rushed is to make way for a much larger story that involves a mystery as to who that old woman who haunted Wilson's character in the first one is and where is she now. The answer to that involves ghosts (of course) and it also involves time travel. Now, I like ghosts. I like time travel. Blending those two genres together sounds interesting but when you see it play out in front of you, you discover that it's not and it's pretty terrible.
However, I do have to admit that I appreciate that at least Wan tried to take the story in a different direction and give the overall tone a new feel. Insidious: Chapter 2 has elements of The Shining, Silence of the Lambs and Back to the Future II but doesn't come close to kicking as much ass as those three films did. Sure, there are parts that are scary and there parts that I thought were clever. As a whole though it doesn't work and ends up making you realize that Insidious wasn't that great either since there huge plot holes left there with the intention of filling them in with this. But a hole is a hole no matter when it's filled and it's even worse when it's filled like this.