September 22, 2013
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I’m a sucker for movies that overlap their own timeline. Now, I’m not talking about rewriting the story everytime a new film comes out (I’m looking at you Terminator franchise). I’ve always held Back to the Future Part II as my favorite of the franchise; the complexity of traveling back but avoiding yourself has always captivated my attention. When done correctly, little nod or rewrites can transform a previous scene into something with even more depth. This is why I enjoyed Insidious Chapter 2 so much.
Now don’t think for a minute I’m going to spill in what ways Insidious retraces it’s own timeline. Chapter 2 is a perfect subtitle for the sequel. Picking up exactly where the first film ended. It’s part direct sequel and part origin piece. With a mixture of results of the events in Chapter 1 and a deeper backstory, we get to explore a more complex story.
The film starts by expanding on the experiences Josh (Patrick Wilson) had with astral projection and The Further as a boy. With the help of Elise, Josh is fortunately able to block out the memories of the black veiled woman out to get him. But as we’ve learned from Chapter 1, Dalton is now experiencing the same horrors as his father once did. Though Josh has rescued Dalton from The Further, something has come back with them and it’s slowly terrorizing the whole family. Josh’s mother Lorraine must dig up her son’s nightmarish past to help save the family from the spirit trying to take Josh and Renai’s baby.
Just like its predecessor, Insidious Chapter 2 has a tense and tightly wound story. Despite moments of genuine scares, the film chooses the slow burn approach to a climax that puts the two films on a collision course. Once again, the cinematography and mood are kept stark and eerie. We see the trauma the family is facing, but everything is through Renai’s eyes. She’s convinced the troubles aren’t over, and as things escalate, she becomes more adamant.
Chapter 2 is a great companion piece for Insidious. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these two films should be watched back-to-back just like the Kill Bill films. As a standalone film, it still delivers, but its strength comes from justifying and intensifying the scares of the first film. 3.5 out of 5 stars.