Chapter 2` - insipid scares kill this chapter (IANS Movie Review)
`Insidious: Chapter 2` is a big letdown by the director James Wan, who had previously given us `Insidious` in 2011 and `The Conjuring` in July. While the earlier films were well-crafted, this one is a far cry from the earlier ones.
The narration is a compilation of three paranormal-demonic-possession tales before winding up with an unbelievable climax set in the nether world 'The Further', where evil spirits lurk. It is the journey of Josh (Patrick Wilson), his older son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), and Parker Crane.
The film takes off from the original "Insidious", where hypnotist Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) informs Mrs. Lambert, who complains of paranormal activities, that, the problem is not the house, but her son Josh.
It's 1986 at the Lambert Residence. Josh (Patrick Wilson) is now a married man with three kids. It is during their process of rescuing Josh's elder son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) from the evil forces, they realise that he is gifted with the ability to travel in his sleep to 'The Further'. Meanwhile, the Lamberts struggle to find what keeps them connected to the fiendish forces.
A good thirty minutes into the film and after a few loud jolt scares involving, closet doors opening on their own, a zipping of a surreal vibration, a wailing baby and a self-playing piano comes the inciting moment in the form of Elise Rainer's death at the Lambert Residence. She is strangled to death. Josh is the suspect initially, but is cleared soon.
The family is forced to seek help.
With the help of paranormal scrutinising associates: Carl (Steve Coulter), Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannel) Josh's agonised mother, an ex-hospital employee, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), helps them track down an old man Parker Crane (Tom Fitzpatrick) who they believe is linked to their problem.
So, after rummaging hospital records and scavenging Parker's home, they zero on to the demonic creature that has taken possession of Josh's body to accomplish its evil deeds.
The characters seem routine. Patrick as Josh with his vacant and blank expressionless face looks possessed, when he is not supposed to be. Rose Bryne as his paranoid wife and Barbara Hershey as Josh's concerned mother are unconvincing. Lin Shaye looks too dignified to be a ghost hunter. Whannel and Angus as the eager beaver ghostbusters, are supposed to offer comic-relief but in fact ridicule themselves.
While the premise of this horror film may sound novel and exciting, the problem that plagues "Insidious: Chapter 2" is that the director has used all cliche tricks with flashlights and shaky cameras that make up the horror genre. Over a period of time, the scares seem generic, synthetic and staid. The screenplay reeks of mediocre events.
Also, there is nothing absurd or novel in the screenplay, except for the climax. The drama takes place in three spaces in time; flashbacks and present-day action, with parallel hauntings taking place in the 'real' world and simultaneous nightmarish goings-on in 'The Further'. While this is interesting and different, it adds to the confusion in the audience's mind.
The cinematography, sound effects as well as the production quality of the film are good, but nothing exceptionally worth writing about.
If horror is your favourite genre, then you are bound to be disappointed with `Insidious: Chapter 2`.