Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) Miller Meter—8.5/10

Directed By:  James Wan

Written By:  Leigh Whannell, James Wan (story)

Starring:  Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye

 PG-13     1 h 46 min – Horror | Thriller

Here’s the newest from director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell.  It stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Steve Coulter and Angus Sampson.  The film picks right up where its predecessor ends.  Renai (Byrne) is getting grilled by the cops about who mysteriously killed Elise (Shaye) in the Lambert home that night.  There’s also a nice little intro with Josh Lambert (Wilson) and you discover that this guy’s had problems since he was just a little tike.  The Lamberts decide to move in with Josh’s mother Lorraine (Hershey) until everything settles down at their old place.  Immediately Renai runs into some unsettling happenings and is convinced that whatever was following Josh in their old spot is still around.  From there the plot takes you through a pretty twisted back story, providing all the details as to why Josh just can’t seem to shake the badness from following him everywhere.  Specs (Whannel) and Tucker (Sampson) are back with their perfectly scripted and well placed comedic relief, which make you feel comfortable and at ease throughout the film, so that when the mayhem kicks up you scare twice as easily.  I went in to this one expecting to be scared as I thoroughly enjoyed its prequel.  The plot was inventive and its subjectivity took my imagination to places that it rarely goes.  When I watch a horror film, I generally sit there critiquing the characters for their lack of know-how when it comes to handling less than optimum situations.  So the thought of being stuck in “the further” where it doesn’t matter if I have a weapon, it doesn’t matter if I have planned exits, and I was surrounded by dead people who could take over my body if I didn’t play my cards right makes me pretty uneasy.  The cinematography was one of my biggest attractions to this piece.  I absolutely love the heavy grays and natural lighting.  The flaws and imperfections make it even more realist and uncomfortable.  The camera work was pretty impeccable, simply animated establishing shots and close ups made up a seamless via for the story to unfold.  Wan’s classic “creepy ass kid who shouldn’t randomly pop out” tactic got me again, and made me jump twice as high.  He definitely nailed the timing with the jump gimmicks, not only did they I jolt, but the entire theatre was losing it along with me.  The crescendo was epic and thankfully didn’t overdo the cheese.  It pieced the plot together nicely bringing it full circle, and I was satisfied with where they took it.  Ok then so why the 8.5?  A few times the comedy of Specs and Tucker was too campy for me and seemed a bit forced, and on occasion I felt myself cringe at some over acting from Wilson and Byrne.  Other than that, it scared me, I jumped, I destroyed my finger nails and overall felt captivated from start to finish.  On a side note, I just have to add that I love the title sequence.  Those creepy ass letters and the sound of 10,000 violins falling apart just scream “hold on, cuz shit’s about to get real!”

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