Most sequels only have the original film's reputation to contend with, but "Insidious: Chapter 2" has much more than that.
The specter of this summer's horror hit "The Conjuring" will loom over audiences as they watch "Insidious: Chapter 2," and for good reason — the film's share a director (James Wan), a leading man (Patrick Wilson), and subject matter (ghostly possession). Unlike "The Conjuring" — and also the first "Insidious" — it's Patrick Wilson who's haunted this time, as the beleaguered Lambert family tries once again to rid their lives of the ghosts and demons trying to claw their way out of the mysterious dark dimension known as the Further.
Even with returning stars Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, and Barbara Hershey all turning in standout performances, and new Hollywood "It" director Wan — next getting behind the wheel of "Fast and Furious 7" — pulling off innovative practical effects, critics are split as to whether the material justifies the talent involved. "Insidious" supporters call the film a fascinating expansion of the mythology only briefly hinted at in the first film's final act, and say that "Insidious" fans will leave "Chapter 2" eager for a third film.
Read on for a sample of "Insidious: Chapter 2" reviews.
Expands On The Original
"Director James Wan's 'Insidious: Chapter 2,' the follow-up to his 2011 horror hit, might feel more potent if the bar hadn't been raised earlier this year with the terrifying 'The Conjuring' — which Wan also directed. Still, if you're a fan of the post-'Poltergeist' shocks and scares offered up by the first 'Insidious,' then you'll be thrilled to hear that 'Chapter 2' manages to jolt and unsettle without merely repeating itself... 'Insidious: Chapter 2' uses its predecessor as a jungle gym and unpacks its prepositions, going in front, behind, around, about, alongside and through the plotline of the first movie to embellish and inform the second one." — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
A Smart Homage
"Directed by James Wan ('The Conjuring,' 'Saw') from a story created by Wan and [Leigh] Whannell, 'Insidious: Chapter 2' deftly juggles various responsibilities: It offers a good dose of non-gory scares, tells a story of supernatural time travel that recalls elements of 'Inception,' and pays homage to the genre Wan and Whannell love. In a tribute to its horror lineage, look for thematic and visual nods to 'Pyscho,' 'Poltergeist' and 'The Blair Witch Project' in 'Insidious: Chapter 2.'" — Sandy Cohen, Associated Press
Seen It All Before
"The problem is, Wan is reaching into the same old grab bag of shock scares, creaky-door sound effects, and ominous baby monitor voices he used in the far better original Insidious. He's recycling the same old tired tropes with diminishing returns. Here, the messy story and cartoony performances seem to be the result of the film's overriding commercial imperative to wring more bucks out of a franchise that should have begun and ended with the first film." — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
Wan Has The Touch
"If Wan is better than most genre directors when it comes to actors, he's even better with mysteriously possessed inanimate objects, bringing the audience's neck hair to attention with each creaking doorjamb, swaying chandelier and squawking transistor radio. He understands the innately creepy value of antiques — objects that we know were quite literally touched by the dead — and anything associated with childhood, that other irrecoverable past." — Scott Foundas, Variety
"[Director James] Wan once again stays engaged and helps his cause with some excellent hires. Much like 'The Conjuring,' the camera work becomes more urgent and threatening as the horror builds, as if one of demons were handling the cinematography. Joseph Bishara's piano-heavy score is appropriately menacing, and ties into the plot in a subtle but meaningful way. Production design is vital for a good horror film, and Jennifer Spence does some exemplary work. Even if there weren't a single ghostly presence in this film, the green-and-black paisley wallpaper would have brought chills to the steeliest moviegoer." — Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle