Cross-dressing ghost brides, crying baby monitors, and a dark realm between two worlds make for a dangerous combination, and this is what makes Insidious Chapter 2, the sequel to the story that left audiences on edge back in 2010. Chapter 2 further explores the origin of the freakish Bride in Black and its invasion of Josh Lambert’s body after he retrieves his son from the “further”.
We know from part one that Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) returns from the “further” not entirely himself, and that as a child he was able to astral project. Chapter 2 offers an explanation of the events in Insidious–including the murderer of the medium–and we focus less on the Lipstick-Face demon (thank god) and more on the story behind Parker Crane and his abusive mother.
After the death of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), her assistants Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) find another medium named Carl (Steve Coulter) to help them unveil the truth. Carl was first called by Lorraine Lambert (actress) to help Josh when he was a boy. Elise took on the case once Carl felt unequipped to handle the situation. Soon it seems like nothing can ever go right for Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne), as her life is back into the chaotic mess it was before. The Bride in Black has taken over Josh’s body and wants him to kill his family, while Josh’s soul is trapped in the further amidst the fog and spirits that haunt his home.
The rest of the film is spent trying to retrieve Josh from this in-between world, while his body at home is slowly rotting away. We discover that the Bride in Black is Parker Crane, whose mother forced him to dress and act like a girl as a young boy (very House At the End of the Street). Parker’s demented mother also forced him to murder dozens of victims (which we see later when the zombie-like bodies are found in the haunted house).
The only problem I saw with this film (which was also evident in part one) is the slow plot development. It moves at a sluggish place, and Rose Byrne’s deadpan expressions often remind me of Twilight’s Kristen Stewart (then again, how happy can a woman be when her husband is possessed by a psychotic cross-dressing demon?). I was also grateful for the addition of the ghost hunters Specs and Tucker, if only for providing the comic relief that a film like this needs.
Though critics are claiming that Chapter 2 is merely James Wan’s attempt at gathering the leftover scraps from Insidious and lazily throwing together a sequel, I disagree. I liked Chapter 2. It was a modern twist on a classic horror movie, and there’s something very unpredictable about Wan’s films–usually I can tell when a hideous demon face will pop up, but Chapter 2 throws these up suddenly and unexpectedly. On the other hand, it might’ve just been the deafening sounds accompanying the scary faces that caused me to spill my popcorn a few times.
The ending to this movie leaves the book wide open for a chapter three, which Wan has no doubt started planning. Score: 7.5/10.
Nataly Capote/A&E Editor