Insidious: Chapter 2

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1986, Carl, a medium, calls his friend Elise to help discover what is haunting Lorraine Lambert’s son, Josh. After hypnotizing Josh, Elise attempts to find the location of Josh’s “friend”, an old woman who appears in photographs of him. After warnings from Josh, she makes her way to his bedroom closet and is scratched on the arm. As a result, Lorraine, Carl and Elise agree that making Josh forget his astral projection abilities is the best thing to do.

Twenty-five years later, Josh’s wife Renai is under questioning by a police detective about the death of Elise. Unsettled, Renai rejoins her family as they relocate to Lorraine’s house, where Renai witnesses strange occurrences. She suspects that Josh is inhabited by the old woman. Josh begins hearing female voices urging him to kill his family in order to stay alive. The next day, Renai sees a woman wearing a white dress sitting in the living room. Following the cries of her baby throughout the house, Renai faces a woman in white and is knocked unconscious. Lorraine visits Elise’s colleagues, Specs and Tucker, to seek an explanation behind the strange events.

They call Carl, who attempts to contact Elise using word-dice. Through the dice, they are told to find answers at the “Our Lady of Angels” hospital. Led to the ICU, Lorraine recounts a story of a patient named Parker Crane, who was admitted to the hospital for trying to castrate himself and eventually committed suicide many years ago. In Parker’s home, they find a secret room with 15 corpses in it. They also find a black wedding gown and veil as well as newspaper clippings about a killer referred to as “The Bride in Black,” who kidnapped and murdered several people while dressed as a woman. It is then revealed that it was not Elise speaking through the dice, but actually Parker’s mother. Meanwhile, Josh’s body begins to slowly deteriorate. He loses several teeth and begins to age physically.

After Renai recovers, Lorraine insists that she, Renai, and the kids get away from Josh. Carl arrives to drug Josh, who reveals that he is possessed by Parker, while Specs and Tucker monitor from outside. Josh incapacitates Carl, Specs, and Tucker and ambushes Lorraine and Renai when they return to the house. He attempts to choke Renai but is knocked over the head by Dalton. Renai and the children escape to the basement. Dalton falls asleep and returns to The Further to rescue his father.

In The Further, the real Josh, Carl and Elise proceed to Parker’s house, where they witness his mother, the woman in white, abusing him as a child. Parker’s mother had raised him as a girl, calling him Marilyn, for reasons unexplained in the film. She is violently abusive whenever he acts as a boy or refers to himself as Parker, the name his “father gave him.” It is further revealed that Parker had killed his female victims at the behest of his mother’s spirit who had also told him that killing Josh’s family would sustain his new body (because it was rejecting his soul). Josh eventually finds the room filled with standing bodies—assumed to be Parker’s victims. Upon finding Parker’s mother, the two engage in a fight. Just as Parker is about to kill Dalton’s physical body and Parker’s mother is about to kill Josh, Elise saves Josh. After the three escape, they meet Dalton, who assists Carl and Josh to return to the living world. Josh and Dalton wake up as themselves, and their memories of their astral projection abilities are forgotten through a process of hypnosis.

Specs and Tucker proceed to go to a family whose daughter, Allison, is in an unexplained coma. Unbeknownst to them, Elise enters the home and approaches Allison. She senses a demonic presence behind the girl and looks on in horror

REVIEW:

Horror films today just don’t resonate with audiences unless they are either torture porn or they do something different. Most of the horror flicks I have come across recently seems to delve into other versions of evil, such as the dubykk. With that being said, sometimes all it takes is a creepy atmosphere, possession, and alternate dimensions to provide a good scare. At least that it what Insidious: Chapter 2 is hoping will work. The questions is…does it?

What is this about?

Time has passed for Renai and Josh Lambert, but they are still haunted by the evil spirits that almost stole the body of their son, Dalton. While Renai tries to accept her son’s paranormal abilities, Josh must confront his own horrifying childhood.

What did I like?

Continuation. I won’t beat around the bush. I vaguely remember Insidious, but that isn’t a problem, because early on in the film, as Rose Byrne’s character is being interrogated, we get a brief recap of past events. Considering how it has been a couple of years since the last film, this was a very smart thing to do. Also, picking up the story where it left off was a masterful stroke of genius. This truly is the next chapter in what seems to be a fledgling franchise.

Vibe. There is a sinister vibe going on throughout the film. It isn’t inherently scary, per se, but you feel the creepiness factor amped up. Probably the best comparison I can give is walking into a haunted house at a carnival/fair. You know something is going to happen, it may even be super cheesy, but it is the knowledge that something is going to go down that changes the atmosphere. The film does a great job of keeping that creepy atmosphere throughout the picture.

Development. This is a personal preference, but for a character in horror to be truly effective, either as the protagonist or antagonist, they must have some sort of character development. This includes having a mysterious backstory. With that said, I felt that the development of the new characters was mostly done extremely well, especially with the new antagonist. That guy’s story will…well, let me not say. You just have to see it to believe it…and hope you don’t end up emotionally scarred for life.

What didn’t I like?

Time is relative. I warn you now, this film skips around in time a bit. Sometimes that can work for a film, a la Pulp Fiction. Most of the time, though, it fails to do anything but confuse the audience. I get that the scenes in the past were meant to help us get a better understanding of who these people are and how everything ties together, but a couple of flashbacks would have been just fine. There was no need to randomly skip back and forth.

Better when he’s creepy. In the last film, the oldest kid, Dalton (you may recognize him from Iron Man 3) was super creepy because of his possession. This go ’round he seems to be fairly normal. When I say normal, I mean boring. There is nothing special about the kid for most of the film, other than he risks his life to go in and save his dad with a tin can telephone. Personally, I preferred him when he was the creepy kid.

You ain’t got no job! I was thinking about this the other day. In films and TV shows of this nature, both parents seem to have the means to buy a fairly big, nice house, but they don’t ever go to work. WTF?!? What kind of drugs are they selling on the side? Seriously, though, I have a theory that perhaps these people wouldn’t be so haunted in they went to a regular 9-5 job. You’d be surprised what wonders getting out of the house will do for you!

So, what did I ultimately think of Insidious: Chapter 2? Well, it has moments that are genuinely creepy, including a guy who was forced to dress as a girl growing up which scarred him for life (and death), an alternate dimension devoid of life and light, etc. A couple of comic relief guys make a valiant attempt to lighten things up, but it just doesn’t work, sadly. I felt that Rose Byrne could have had more to do, but I guess the fact that she doesn’t die is a victory in itself, seeing as this is a horror flick. All in all, this is decent, but not spectacular. By tomorrow morning, chances are I won’t remember anything about this flick, other than the fact that I saw it. Do I recommend it? If you’re into the horror genre, sure, but I fear that even you will be disappointed in the average-ness of this picture.

3 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: