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Insidious 2: A Dreadernaut of Pure Horror Awesomeness

September 15, 2013

Insidious 2 movie poster

Insidious 2 is a nonstop dreadernaut (new word) of horror mastery.  It is frantic, wonderful and will certainly annoy many (37% RT) who don’t appreciate James Wan’s frantic journey into the Further. The film blends story and character in a way that makes you care for the nice family as an absolute jerk harasses them. The movie bounces around from abandoned hospitals, boarded up houses and hidden rooms in a nonlinear fashion that feels like a paranormal roller coaster on speed. It asks a lot of the audience yet is meant as pure fun. If you sit in the theater in pursuit of pretentiousness you could pick holes all day. Don’t do that. If you allow yourself to be transported into the Further you will have an amazing time in the cinema.

Alonso Duralde of the Wrap wrote

“Wan’s definitely playing things more tongue-in-cheek here — he loves framing Wilson in a shadowy way that makes the possessed Josh look like evil incarnate — but he’s also adept at the sudden noises and abrupt appearances and creepy-crawlies that make movies like this date-night staples.

Duralde is absolutely right. The movie has a tongue-in-cheek vibe that realizes exactly what it is. Insidious 2 has minor shades of Sam Raimi’s goofy meets the home haunting of Poltergeist. It plays fast, loose and wonderfully with genre conventions. The doors creak (explained), ghosts pop up at terrible times (jerks) and Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne invest themselves fully in looking scared.

The story focuses on the Lambert family as they deal with the aftermath of their foray into The Further. Something followed Patrick Wilson back and loves starting kids strollers, playing the piano and backhanding people in the face.  Insidious 2 is about the race against time to save a family, figure out evil and provide a evil backstory so bonkers you will love it. I normally hate explanations of evil but the origin of the bride in black worked for me. The bride in black filled me with dread and stressed me out. My fiancee and I left the theater in a haze of wonder, stress and delight. When was the last time you’ve left the theater feeling anything? We needed a cheeky episode of Top Gear (Worst car ever ep) to calm the nerves.

What I love most about Insidious 2 is the focus on good people fighting pure evil. They are in over their heads and are supported by incredibly nice, earnest and funny people. They put their lives in danger because they realize they have to. There is no selfishness and the family realizes they are all in it together. I love that the spirit will follow them anywhere so the obligatory “Why don’t they move?” question is out of the picture. The characters are in for a world of hurt and the only choice is to fight back.

The acting is superb, the pacing is frantic and the evil spirits are wonderfully villainous. James Wan (Saw, Dead Silence, Conjuring) is a maestro of horror who has come into his own. He cut his teeth with micro-budget films (Listen to his Nerdist Podcast) that looked great and now has a budget and crew that are helping achieve his full vision. If you have money to invest in a horror film James Wan would quadruple your investment in the first weekend, Audiences respond to his brand of horror and the box-office for Insidious 2 will be certain to delight.

Watch Insidious 2. Appreciate a director on top of his game. Watch The Conjuring if you haven’t checked it out yet.

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