Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey
After previous events which left paranormal investigator Elise (Lin Shaye) dead and left Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson, well it seems to be him or Ethan Hawke in these films these days!) trapped in ‘The Further’, the Lambert family have moved to the house of Josh’s mum (Hershey), while police investigate the ‘murder’. With Josh appearing to not be himself anymore, his wife Renai (Byrne) is already on edge and mysterious noises and movements in the house only make things worse. Meanwhile, Josh’s mum finds the two investigators that survived the previous events: Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), and along with another investigator from Josh’s childhood seek to discover the truth, but will they be too late, or indeed survive?
James Wan, like so many directors seems to have a career with a trajectory that resembles a plane doing a nosedive, and this I expect is down to his increasing hubris and arrogance. Saw was certainly torture porn, but with a plot of genuine intelligence that truly gripped from start to finish. Then there was the Kevin Bacon starring Death Sentence which was generic in plot but at least entertaining to watch. Insidious was silly and generic, but at least entertaining, and though I know a lot of people liked The Conjuring I thought it was his worst film yet. Well, that was until Insidious 2, which is quite frankly an extremely lazy, generic and often boring film that often ventures into farcical and certainly lacks any imagination or creativity but solely focuses on profit.
The prologue and opening 10 minutes or so of Insidious 2 for me prove how out of touch James Wan is: He patronisingly reminds us of exactly what happened in Insidious and it is so boring to watch. As the audience is stupid, they need to be reminded of every detail of what happened in Insidious apparently! Once the ‘plot’ eventually gets going it pretty much feels like writer Leigh Whannell and James Wan make it up as they go along while relying on generic and clichéd tricks for the supposed ‘scares’. I know I am not the first to say this, but when we get a prolonged period of quiet and then a sudden loud noise (shriek or bang) we all jump, that is the natural involuntary human reaction, in fact if you do not react like that then you are probably dead. However, this in no way makes James Wan a director of great horror films that he can simply make people jump by this ancient method. The absurdly contrived high pitched screams or dissonant violin harmonies are so over the top and done to death that Insidious 2 verges on laughable and never, ever scary.
On the subject of laughable; the ridiculous plot that gets increasingly stupid as it goes along really goes too far when a paranormal investigator from Josh’s past communicates with ‘the other side’ by throwing lettered dice and trying to figure out a word from how they land. This pretty much sums up the attempts at coherent plot development, or maybe James Wan knows this and the whole dice thing is him mocking the audience? Probably not, but you never know.
All this lazy plotting and even lazier attempts at scaring are a shame, as the talented cast all give good performances, almost saving Insidious 2 from being total rubbish, but their admirable efforts do unfortunately prove wasted. As the plot comes to an apparent crescendo I found myself laughing in disbelief at how comical everything was and was certainly never scared, or indeed cared. James Wan is obviously very knowledgeable of the horror genre (he rips off plenty of other films) and proved with Saw he has talent. However Wan now needs to take a good look at himself, go back to the drawing board and actually put some effort into his films instead of relying on tried and tested generic, cliché ridden methods that cannot save the laughable plots of his films. Oh, and of course it is left open for part 3!
Funny for all the wrong reasons; Due to a laughable plot Insidious 2 is perhaps not as dull as The Conjuring, but still heavily relies on obvious and generic genre conventions to get its ‘scares’ and is further prove that James Wan is a director that puts profit before integrity.
A lot of people loved James Wan’s previous film, The Conjuring, I didn’t and to find out why and read my review, click here