Insidious Chapter 2. Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lynne Shay, Leigh Whanell, Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey. Directed by James Wan. 104 minutes. Rated M (Supernatural themes and violence).
Insidious was very popular with audiences on its first release, exceeding box-office expectations. After all, there have been many haunted house thrillers and many ghost horror stories. Here was another one. But it had a good cast, was well written, created its eerie atmosphere, invented a few alternatives to going into the land of forgiveness and the afterlife, called The Further.
What can filmmakers do except to make a sequel! They have capitalised on what was successful in the first film and offered some variations and similar repetitions. And this film has been successful as well.
Insidious: Chapter 2 was written by Australian Leigh Whannel who wrote the first film (and wrote the first in the Saw series) as well as the first Insidious. The film was directed by James Wan who directed Saw and Insidious – and had great success, critical and box-office, in 2013 with his exorcism film, The Conjuring. And the star also comes from Australia, Rose Byrne.
However, this is a very American film, a film about a family, with grandmother (Barbara Hershey), parents (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) and three children, capitalising on the bonds between them all. It is also haunted house story, the audience being taken back at the opening to 1986 and some experts trying to help a mother who has a haunted child. This was the house of the grandmother and the proceedings had an influence on the father of the family who, in the initial film, was taken into The Further. This time we wonder whether he actually returned or whether he was possessed by a sinister Bride in Black from the past. This sets up the new hauntings, bizarre behaviour by the father, and the self-sacrifice of the son, who previously saved his father, to do it again.
Entertaining in its way, not one of the classics, but a respectable contribution to the genre.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out November 7 2013.