A fair, yet generally enjoyable horror film graces the silver screen

By Bryan C. Kuriawa

In the spring of 2011, “Insidious” proved to be a wake-up call for those in horror cinema circles, especially this critic. A unique and generally frightening film on its own merits, it demonstrated the still prevalent nature of atmospheric horror in modern cinema. Yet after a summer scaring more audience members with “The Conjuring,” director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell return to their popular creation with a direct follow-up.

In the aftermath of their supernatural ordeal, the Lamberts are trying to move on with their lives in the best way possible. For Renai (Rose Byrne), she continues to feel that the presence that had haunted their residences is still prevalent. Concerned about her daughter in law’s fears, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) contacts the paranormal investigators (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) who previously assisted her, and investigate any connections between her past and the present events.  Yet as the investigation begins, all attention goes to Josh (Patrick Wilson) and the question of whether or not he is truly who he claims to be.

Acting-wise, the cast is generally satisfactory, with most of actors being generally serviceable in their roles. As Renai, Byrne is successful, giving her character a well-rounded persona, as she attempts to determine the cause of the ongoing events in her life. On the other hand, Wilson’s performance proves to be a slightly mixed bag. While he does have strong moments, especially in the second half, some of his earlier scenes prove campier in their execution than intended. Supporting wise, Hershey, along with Whannell and Sampson are fairly competent respectively, but without much else.

Director on the first three “Saw” entries, Wan proves to be capable in the onscreen proceedings with his directorial style. While he does manage to create several frightening moments and some atmosphere within the narrative, his use of digital cameras is somewhat mixed. The digital looks of various scenes unfortunately underscore the complete impact of their atmosphere, but can work on other occasions. On a similar note, Whannell’s screenplay is well-written and manages to add more backstory to elements found in “Insidious,” while working as a direct continuity from the earlier entry. Fault-wise, the main problem with the sequel lies in the fact that it lacks the drive and feel of the first film. While it does possess an interesting concept, at times, Whannell’s script feels closer to filling in the blanks from his previous outing than providing a complete concept.

Overall, “Insidious Chapter 2,” is a decent, yet enjoyable horror film that will satisfy most horror fans. For those who enjoyed the first entry, they will like the proceedings, however for the unfamiliar or general moviegoer, some Wikipedia searches might be necessary before attending.

Final Rating: 6/10.

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