Watch or Don’t: Insidious Chapter 2

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Insidious Chapter 2 was recently released on Netflix. I was actually disappointed by the first chapter, but the preview made me want to try this one.

 

Summary

Chapter 2 picks up later on the same night of the first movie with Renai (Rose Byrne) being interviewed about Elise’s (Lin Shaye) death. This chapter explores more of Josh’s (Patrick Wilson) history with the gift, as well as what followed Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and he back to the real world, both of which are touched on in the first chapter.

Entertainment Value

  • The found footage use is minimal, and mostly for getting the reader back in time to when Josh was a child. When unnecessary, I find this style limiting, so it was a nice use without being just a “cool” trick.
  • A layered evil antagonist whose motivations are explained, which makes her that much scarier. There are also secondary and tertiary evils rippling out from the first.
  • Comic relief in the paranormal crew that worked with Elise (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson), which helps in a movie so tightly wound.
  • Strong connections between the first and the second movie to explain previously unknown occurrences. For example, they use footage from the first movie when some mysterious things happen at the house, and you find out that it was actually caused by Josh traveling in the further, warning his past self.
  • Great houses. The action moves to Josh’s mother’s house (Barbara Hershey), which is a fantastic Victorian full of history. We also travel to the real home of the big evil, which is full of secret rooms, dark corners, and clues to key up the fear.
  • Actual scares. It’s been a long time since something popped out on the screen and startled me–I know where to look–but this movie did it. Hooray!

Dark Muse Value

This movie doesn’t ask questions so much as it makes statements, which is part of its success.

  • Time is an elevator. At multiple points Josh affects past events in ways that make it look like a ghost is haunting his past self, which we never knew was possible in the first chapter. This means that the causes of events may not be apparent, but they can happen parallel to life rather than in linear form. There is always an explanation–you just may not know it. All moments exist at once.
  • Some parents deal with how they’ve impacted their children, some parents don’t. The big evil acts as a foil to the Lambert family. She is a woman scorned that resents her son’s maleness and abuses him for it. When this evil’s son possesses Josh, it abuses his family, but when Josh returns to himself, he is able to admit fault and reconcile. The lesson here is a simple one: parents, do not let the evil that was done to you possess you, or it will be passed on to your children. The choice to stop the insidious evil starts with you.

Verdict: Watch

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