“There is nothing normal about this! These things are still here!”
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 once again follows Josh (Patrick Wilson, who earned a Scream Award nomination for Best Horror Actor for his first turn in the role) and Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne, who earned a Best Horror Actress nod for her first go), who will have an awfully difficult time living down the events of the previous movie.
After a brief prologue set in 1986 (to explore a young Josh’s “gift” and all of the mayhem that comes with it), the story jumps to present time with Renai being questioned about the death of Elise (Lin Shaye, the French horror flick DEAD END), a friend and paranormal activity expert who was strangled to death in the Lamberts’ home. Is Josh to blame? Or should the police try to arrest the “something evil” that’s spending its time with the family?
Enter mediums Specs (Leigh Whannell, who co-created SAW with director James Wan), Tucker (Angus Sampon, the W series SPIRITED) and Carl (Steve Coulter, THE CONJURING), whose most powerful accessory seems to be a set of blocks.
For a sequel that seeks to delve deeper into the story and characters, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 spends much of its time running around in circles with both. Any time a character insists, “I saw something!” another is there to shoot them down with a quick, “No you didn’t!” Doubt could spring up the first time around, but twice? Just how naïve are these people?
So many of the issues in INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 are commonplace in director Wan’s recent movies. Just last year brought THE CONJURING, about a pair of demonologists investigating a series of strange occurrences in Rhode Island. Like he did then, with INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 Wan again stoops to cheats and pathetic boo! moments, complete with loud bangs and sudden appearances of ghostly figures. Wan has branched out a bit to avoid being known as “the SAW guy,” but he’s not doing much to avoid the most recent pigeonhole he’s found himself in. And with INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 scheduled for 2015, you can expect the same sort of tactics.
Fortunately, due to the movie’s subpar technical aspects, the audience misses some of them. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 is photographed so darkly at times (by cinematographer John R. Leonetti, whose career in the genre also includes CHILD’S PLAY 3, about a dozen episodes of TALES FROM THE CRYPT and a few Wan movies, including DEAD SILENCE and THE CONJURING) that the viewer is too busy squinting and tilting their heads to be scared.
This sequel, like its predecessors (and whatever else is in the pipeline) is just another movie about spooky goings-on. Fare about ghosts, spirits and other paranormal happenings blew up so quickly and came so frequently (five PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies have been released in the span of just seven years) that they lost their thrill factor pretty fast. Despite what box office numbers tell, it’s a trend and subgenre that has worn out its welcome.
INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Facial textures, clothes and sets are all very detailed—when you can see them. The bulk of the movie is very dark, which is faithful to the intended look but still makes it very difficult to see much.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English and Spanish. As with the video transfer, the audio transfer both supports the director’s intentions and outlines just how cheap the tactics really are.
Peripheral Vision: Behind the Scenes (15:23): This featurette uses interviews and on-set footage to look at the making of INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, with comments on the plot, style and more.
Ghostly Transformations (7:19) goes into the effects and makeup of the movie.
Leigh Whannel’s INSIDIOUS Journal (7:44): Whannel, who co-wrote the movie and plays Specs, offers a glimpse into both roles.
Haunted Hospital: On Location (8:51): LA Paranormal Association representatives Brian Patrick and Layla Halfhill share their thoughts on haunted happenings in Linda Vista hospital, which was used in INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2.
Work in Progress: On Set Q&A (23:30): James Wan, Patricl Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, and more of the cast and crew of INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 field questions from fans.
INSIDIOUS: Spectral Sightings (12:19) houses three short bits on the movie, which can be viewed separately or as a whole.