It’s rare that a sequel feels like a true continuation of the original film. Most of the time they come across as an attempt to surpass the previous tale…or you end up with something completely bizarre and unexpected (Nightmare on Elm Street part 2, Halloween 3). Insidious Chapter 2 is literally the second chapter of the same story. We’ve established the characters, the realm of “The Further”, the tension, and the oddly juxtaposed comic relief of the bumbling Paranormal Investigators Tucker and Specs, and allows us to see the Haunting of the Lambert family draw to its conclusion, while also allowing us to explore “The Further”…well, further.
Insidious (Chapter 1) had a profound impact on me. I didn’t sleep the night i watched it. It’s no secret that ghost stories/demonic chicanery strikes a chord with me, so to see such eerie and effective visuals paired with a dementedly haunting score…Yeah. Scared the shit out of me. A lot of criticism was levied against the film for the shift in direction part way through when it stopped being about a scary haunting and became about an Astral realm, but i didn’t care, i was fully invested at that point. My expectations were extremely high going into Chapter 2. After the first viewing, I was left not quite knowing how i felt about the movie, so last night i saw it for the second time. To be fair, the first viewing was a gong show. On either side of me, a few seats down, were drunken couples hooking up in the theater, and several rows behind me were people starting a scrap over which of them should be quiet first. At one point, the drunken harlot to my left started getting whiny and emotional, loudly speaking to her fella. Being the gentleman that I am, i leaned over and said: “Hey, if you guys are gonna be making that much noise, can you at least go back to fucking so we can get another free show?” Put them in their place. Distractions aside, I guess i was expecting something a bit different from the story. What I got was still frightening though…
After my second viewing, I can say with confidence that i like this film. I can’t help but get the sense that as James Wan is leaving the franchise, and the Horror genre itself, he wanted to not only tie up loose ends such as the Black Veiled Bride, The Lambert Family’s connection to the Further, and what really happened to Elise Ranier (Lin Shaye), but also leave room for others to continue on with the series. My lone criticism is that at times the dialogue felt awkward and a little exposition heavy, but i attribute this to Wan not wanting to leave the possibility that the audience would “get it”, so he literally spells it out for them. The back story of the Black Veiled Bride has an eerie air of authenticity to it. Elements of the story are familiar enough that we could very easily think it was based on a true case, and i’m not sure that writer Leigh Whannell wasn’t influenced by real life killers. Overall I didn’t find it to be as scary as the original, but it was still an enjoyable film. I see this falling into a similar class as Sinister, as an instant cult classic that will serve its greatest purpose in traumatizing younger children.
It has been confirmed that another sequel is in the works, and it seems a given that the continuing arc will follow Elise, Specs, and Tucker as they help other people afflicted by hauntings. Preliminary reports have the film tracking for a $32–$35 million debut in North America. The film earned $1.5 million from its Thursday night showings, and reached a $20 million Friday total, making it the biggest opening day in September box office history. The film debuted at #1 during its opening weekend, taking $41 million at the box office. This means that between The Conjuring and Insidious, James Wan has had two films this year break $40 million during opening weekend. This is even more impressive considering these film were released within a few months of each other. Box office like this ensures that our journeys into the Further…will continue (you thought i was gonna say “Will go further”, didn’t you? I would have had to kick my own ass if i made that reference twice).
Oh yeah…and if the tease at the end is any indication…I think we’ll be seeing more of this demon