Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Insidious: Chapter 2 return to the afterlife

After being trapped in the afterlife a father must return to save his family from a serial killing entity or be lost forever.

Opening with an exposition flashback and picking up where part one left off director James Wan delivers another afterlife visual treat. This sequel has its share of shrouded corpses, ghostly figures, an abandoned hospital and dilapidated houses to name a few.

Thankfully this is not some cheap cash-in. What's engaging is that the original cast return including the solid Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne along with Elise Rainier and Barbara Hershey in their supporting roles. Worthy of note is The House of the Devil's (2009) Jocelin Donahue as Hershey's Lorraine younger self. To the casting directors credit the supporting actors who play the younger characters are successfully integrated. Of course for a bit of relief and grounding from Tucker (Angus Sampson)and Leigh Whannell's Specs who also return.

It's stylised make-up of the ghostly faces and cross layering between and afterlife, flashbacks, spiritual time paradoxes are finely executed. While it has its fair share of creepy moments, notably a scene involving a tin can make shift telephone it's debatably not as tension filled as the first instalment. That said, with a few twists and interesting exposition it keeps you on your toes from start to finish.

What makes Chapter 2 shine is that writer Leigh Whannell expands the story building on his and Wan's original concept without changing it too much, it really is a satisfying sequel and incorporates even some of the original's scenes. Both cinematographer John R. Leonetti (Sleepy Hollow) and composer Joseph Bishara also return which again is in keeping with the first, retaining its atmosphere and look.

Granted it's packed with horror clich├ęs but Wan's execution and style gives this an edge over similar types of horrors. Overall, while not reinventing the horror wheel, it's a satisfying follow-up.