Insidious Chapter 2: Review

It's rare for a sequel match the quality of its predecessor and Insidious: Chapter 2 has lofty ambitions that don't quite reach maximum potential. The structure and plot outweigh the other elements of the film (including the scares) but it's still entertaining, thrilling and an admirable experiment in what sequels should be.

The first Insidious worked on several levels: it was a family drama, a haunted house creepfest, and a swan dive into the obscure with "The Further"(courtesy of some bumbling paranormal experts). The sequel picks up moments after the first film and quickly free falls into complete absurdity. It's ambitious storytelling wastes no time with character development, and jumps around time periods which is both interesting and convoluted. There's also no breathing room for the audience to catch up, or quiet moments to reflect on the previous scene. It's just barrels through non-stop.

It's obvious this movie was made for the fans of the original who will love the continuation of the story and seeing the entire cast return for a second go round. Casual moviegoers may be put off by the more eccentric elements, and it's innate geekiness – and those comparing it to this summer's The Conjuring will also be disappointed. I loved it, warts and all.

Sadly, director James Wan brazenly announced that he is "finished with horror" citing that he has devoted the last 10 years of his career to the genre. Sure, it's a slap in the face to his fans, but maybe that's a good thing. Many moments here felt like blatant rehashes of Insidious, The Shining, and Dead Silence (his quirky second horror film that's worth a look). Maybe some distance from the genre will give him a clearer perspective and some new ideas. So many directors start in horror and later abandon it to pursue a "real" film career. Only a rare few (Steven Spielberg, David Cronenberg) succeed, so good lucky buddy.