Insidious Chapter 2 Review

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By: Kevin T. Keeling

Okay, first things first, I loved the first Insidious movie. I thought it was very subtle in its horror, it came off as low-budget effects but not cheap, there was comedic moments but they were not the focus of the film. All in all, I thought it was one of the best recent horror films I’d seen. (Mama is also up there in my favorite recent horror films).

Now onto Part 2. This will definitely contain spoilers, not intentionally, but there is this major plot point that needs to be addressed, and even stating it will spoil a few things, so I figure I might as well go full force if I have to reveal stuff.

Before I go into spoilers, I will say that the acting was still as good as the first one. The thing that ruined this movie for me, however, was that it was too different from the original. I understand the the film-makers were working to make the movie different, but I felt they went too far in there efforts. Part 2 had much more comedy in it, and the scares were far less subtle (in fact, most of them were jump scares, which when are not the best, unless done properly). There was also the odd inclusion of the plot point and its use to explain some of the events of the first film. I will get into that now, for those who don’t mind spoilers.

The opening of the movie shows Josh as a kid being interviewed by Elise. He is being stalked by the Old Woman, and during the interview, a spirit comes up to him, asks him something, and he points over to a door which proceeds to open.

The then movie picks up immediately where the last movie ended, the medium is dead, Josh is stuck in the Further, and the Old Woman is in Josh’s body.

Renai is at the police station being asked if she knows who killed Elise, and if it could be Josh. She leaves and heads home. Josh is acting all odd, and trying to get her to ignore the spirits still visiting. While that is happening, Lorraine meets up with Elise’s partners, Specs and Tucker. The two had discovered a tape of Josh’s interview when he was a kid, and on it they see an older version of Josh in the background. Not knowing how this could be, the three begin to investigate who the Old Woman might be and they contact and old partner of Elise, Carl, who was working the camera the night Josh was interviewed.

Back at the house, spirits keep showing up around Renai, one in particular who plays the piano. The Old Woman in Josh’s body continues to ignore them, but the kids see Josh talking to people at night. Josh’s body is also starting to decay at this point, as stated by one of the spirits, “Your dead soul is rotting his living skin.” This spirit also tells the Old Woman that it needs to kill to keep on living.

The Scooby-Doo Gang (Lorraine, Carl, Specs, and Tucker) does some digging around, and finds out that the Old Woman was a patient at the hospital Lorraine used to work at. The Old Woman is actually man by the name of Parker Crane, who would dress in a black bridal gown and veil as a disguise. He was a serial killer who was tormented by his deranged mother as a child. She would force him to dress and act like a girl because she never wanted a son. (I felt it was implied that the mother killer Crane’s father, mostly due to the way she spoke of him; with a great deal of hate in her voice). The team, now knowing that Crane is the one is Josh’s body, devise a plan to tranq Josh’s body and get Crane out.

Renai takes the kids out of the house, and Carl pops in to talk with Crane. A struggle eventually breaks out when Carl finds a tooth that fell out of Josh’s mouth. Specs and Tucker jump in, but it is in vein. The three wind up knocked out, and Crane lures Renai and the kids back to the house as he has finally given in to the spirit who keeps telling him to kill.

We are now taken to the Further, where Carl meets up with Josh. Carl realizes that he is dead, and they search for Elise, who they figure must be somewhere in this realm. Josh is revealed to be one spirit who played the piano in the house, in the hopes of getting Renai’s attention. Carl and Josh bump into a spirit who tells keeps saying “He’s got your baby.” The two run in the direction the spirit pointed, and wind up at Josh’s old house, when Dalton was still in a coma. They see a ghost in a leather duster, the same one from the first movie. Scenes from the first film are spliced in, with angles from the Further. Some of the activity that occurred in the first movie was a result of the current Josh fighting with the leather duster clad ghost. (This is the plot point I was mentioning earlier. It would seem that the Further has no concept of time, and connects to every moment of reality. If you can navigate the Further, you can effectively time travel, but you cannot alter events, only enact events that you know happen).

After Josh fights off the ghost, Elise shows up to help the two. She, being the most familiar with the Further, takes the two back in time to the night of the interview. They need to see memories of Crane’s past in order to drive him out of Josh’s body.

While Josh and friends head off, Lorraine and the kids are being harassed by Crane. He is attempting to kill them all under the direction of the spirit who talks to him. The wife and kids escape into the basement. Dalton figures he can go into the further and search for the real Josh.

Josh’s team sees Crane’s mother in his memories and determine that the spirit that is talking to Crane is his mother. She was the one who drove him to be a serial killer, as a way of pleasing her. Josh and Elise manage to beat her, Dalton finds everyone, brings them back, Carl is told he is not actually dead (he just had a near-death experience), and everything is hunky dory. Carl unteaches the astral projection to Josh and Dalton. Specs and Tucker continue doing paranormal investigation, with Elise still helping from the Further. However, Elise happens up a girl who has been experiencing hauntings, and the sounds of something being sharpened plays over a shot, and the screen goes black.

End of movie.

Like I said before, this movie had a lot of comedy in, which is fine, as long as you balance it out with more horror. They did not, it was very lacking in that department, and the horror it did have was all jump scares . The idea of having time travel in this was just unnecessary. I liked the idea of having the Further not obeying the laws of time, but this was supposed to be a horror movie about a ghost living in a man’s body, living his life, looking over his kids, being with his wife, not time travel. The parts in which we saw Crane in Josh’s body were very much like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, especially in the mannerism that Crane had and in the ways that he goes after Lorraine and the kids. I did love the way they slowly make Josh’s body appear older and closer to death, as Crane rots him from the inside out.

I enjoyed the movie, but not as much more than I should have. I was going in expecting a horror movie, and got a comedy about time travel and ghosts. If you liked the first one, you might want to skip this. However, if you’re like me, and will watch anything, then head into the theaters, just sneak into Insidious Part 2 after watching something else.

I give this movie a 5/10.

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