Movie review: Insidious: Chapter 2

Although there were something in the region of 206 Saw films made (or thereabouts), James Wan only directed the first, released in 2004. Since then he's kept a low profile, certainly in terms of box office appeal at any rate.

He has been a busy bee of late though, directing both the recent The Conjuring, and this sequel to 2010's Insidious, which he also directed. He certainly hit gold with the first, considering it only cost $1.5 million to make, it made just shy of $100 million in return. So this sequel was about as expected a thing as can be.

It would be nice for things to get back to normal for the Lamberts, after all the trauma they've been through, what with the dead using their son as way of coming back and terrorising them. Not quite as bad as Jehovah Witnesses camping on your doorstep, but nearly as bad.

With everything seemingly hunky dory now, Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) can start to relax a bit. Well they could if Josh hadn't have been possessed by a mean old sod after saving his son. The thing is, the rest of the family don't know it yet.

When the penny finally drops, Renai turns to Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) for their help with these supernatural goings-on once again. It's a shame that Elise (Lin Shaye), the paranormal investigator, is no longer around to help out. Still, if she can't help, they think they know a man who can.

They had better hurry up though as Josh doesn't look in a good way at all; in fact, he's starting to look positively evil.

It's difficult to take any film seriously that parades itself as a horror with a 15 certificate, but it was far more difficult to take Insidious at all serious. It didn't help that the only surprise about it was the fact it made a shed load of cash.

The sequel though, approaches its material in a slightly different manner; much the way The Evil Dead II did to Evil Dead, this sequel tries a lighter approach. The only problem being is that it's difficult to gauge if it's intentional or not.

The main source of entertainment is Patrick Wilson; his performance shows no subtlety whatsoever – which may have been asked of him, who knows – but he does deliver almost a parody of his character from the first, as if he was performing some kind of comedy sketch that no one else knew about.

But it's not just his part in the film that echoes that of a parody, much of the film doesn't appear to take itself all that seriously. Again, whether that was intentional or not is kind of immaterial. The fact is, this sequel delivers a nice blend of watered down chills and humorous scenes. It also does well in filling in the blanks from the previous film, with a number of 'oh that's why that happened' moments littered throughout.

Hopefully the numeral in the title doesn't hint at further chapters in this franchise to come, as it this rate, it will quickly deteriorate into farce. But as a bookend to the first, this works remarkably well.

Wan has done well with creating atmospheric titles considering the restrictions that the (extremely lucrative) 15 certificate market brings, but it would be great to see him let loose once again on a darker project like he did with the 18 rated original Saw, and really give an audience the heebie jeebies.

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