I was so jazzed to see Part 2 of one of the best, most original horror movies I’ve seen this decade.
And that was my No. 1 mistake.
Ya gotta go in with low to no expectations. But all was not lost.
Here are some pros and cons of “Insidious: Chapter 2.”
- PRO: Director James Wan may be the new Wes Craven (the mastermind behind “Scream” and the original “Nightmare on Elm Street”). Wan has a firm grip on what’s frightening, what’s been done to death (pun not intended) and what he wants to explore as a filmmaker. “Insidious: Chapter 2” easily gave me some of the most intense scares I’ve ever had. (Wish I was kidding, but I literally screamed in the theater twice.) Wan seems to know his stuff, and for that, I appreciate his ability to scare the crap outta me.
- CON: The scares fizzle out. After the first hour, Wan falls into some delay tactics and he seems to have fallen in love with the minimalist, hand-held, stuck-in-a-house scenario. I don’t blame him as it’s way effective, but after seeing what he can do, I wanted more.
- PRO: The storyline picks up right where it left off. As opposed to other flicks where 3 to 5 minutes are spent establishing changes in time, space and characters, this opens (after a loaded flashback) as Renai (Rose Byrne) is interviewed by a detective who is trying to solve the murder of ghost whisperer Elise (Lin Shaye). Superb move, Wan, for pacing and momentum. As a viewer, you’re already wild about what happens next in this storyline, and you’re not made to wait any longer.
- CON: That stays true only at the beginning. The pacing slows down tremendously with minimal to no scares.
- PRO: There’s consistent comedic relief. Ghost hunter rooks Specs and Tucker (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) spare no expense when it comes to one-liners.
- CON: There’s too much comedic “relief.” With such a strong, horrific start, you want more scary than silly moments. The one-liners became so frequent and predictable that they’re nearly on par with “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
- PRO: Director Wan doesn’t rely on CGI to get the job done. It seems he’s schooled in the ways of the greats: Roman Polanski (“Rosemary’s Baby”), David Lynch and the dude who directed “The Omen.” He uses sound and lighting to his advantage. And he exploits our aversion to supernatural beings all up in our grill.
- CON: He does this so well you leave wanting more.
Pros and cons aside, it was an OK sequel to an even more solid “Chapter 1.” And thus is the plight of every part deux. I still left the movie thoroughly impressed with Wan’s work as, and I’m pumped to see what’s he has on deck.
Lavine is Accent Editor for the Grand Forks Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 780-1265.
Check out this week’s Screen Time web show where Tim Albrecht and I talk “Insidious: Chapter 2” and preview this week’s movies at GrandForksHerald.com.