Saturday, January 6, 2018

Movie Review: Insidious: Chapter 2

This sequel not only extends the story of the first film but enhances it. The film begins with a prologue set years earlier. Young Elise Rainier (Lindsay Seim) visits a young Lorraine Lambert (Jocelin Donahue) and her son Josh (Garrett Ryan) at the behest of Carl (Hank Harris). Elise learns of Josh's power to astral project and after being attacked by a vicious force, she agrees to suppress Lorraine's son's ability until the results of the first film bringing them back in a horrifying way. The original story resumes with Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) recalling the night that her son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) woke up and the body of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) was found. Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) claims to not know why Elise died but Renai has seen a picture of the ghost possessing his body. 

After the tragedy, the family goes to stay with Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) but strange things continue to happen. Renai is haunted by a terrifying woman and Josh is acting very odd. Lorraine sees shadows but Josh tells her not to speak of these sightings. Even Dalton is haunted by ghosts as he struggles to get his innate ability to astral project under control. Elise's assistants Spec (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) wish that they consult Elise so they stage a seance. Lorraine calls in Carl (Steve Coulter). With Tucker and Spec, Lorraine and Carl try to figure out what Elise is trying to communicate. With the help of Carl's dice rolling, Lorraine recalls the haunting encounter of an old man in a hospital who took a special interest in Josh. She saw Parker Crane walk out of the hospital after he had already died. He was in the hospital for trying to castrate himself. 

The group returns to the house of this serial killer and experience all sorts of supernatural frights. They learn the truth of Parker's awful upbringing and his murder sprees just as Renai realizes that Josh is not the same person she married. Lorraine catches Renai as she is returning home and tells her to avoid the house while Carl goes in wearing a wire monitored by Specs and Tucker. Josh is growing increasingly ill as Parker's soul is rejecting Josh's body. It turns out that Josh's soul is stuck in the Further. Carl tries to reason with Parker but is attacked and fails to inject the drug. Specs and Tucker try to fight Josh but they are both knocked out. Carl wakes up in the further reasoning that he is dead. 

Josh goes on an adventure back into the past revealing how some of the spooky things that happened in the first film are the result of Josh journeying through the Further. With Carl by his side, he explores deeper into the darkness fighting a monster until Elise arrives. She instructs him to revisit his past where he finds the key to drawing Parker out of his vessel. Elise and Carl help him as Renai and Lorraine arrive home to find Josh slowly decaying. Josh attacks them and is about to kill Renai when Dalton and his brother arrive home to fight him off. They hide in the basement and lock the door as Josh tries to break his way in. Dalton convinces his mother to let him go into the further to help his father. Josh explores the memories of Parker Crane and the vicious way his mother treats him until he can defeat him with the help of Elise. Dalton helps Carl and Josh escape the dead souls of the Further and return to their bodies. Carl performs the ceremony to reset Josh and Dalton's memory.

Insidious: Chapter 2 adds to the scares of the first film while also explaining why some of the mysterious things happened. James Wan and Leigh Whannell return as a great director and writer pair for some brilliant scenes of horror like when Dalton is attacked by ghosts. This film series seemed like a silly horror franchise but with talents like Byrne, Wilson, Simpkins, and Lin Shaye, it rises to another level. These first two films tell a complete story but the ending sets up how the franchise can go beyond the Lambert family. 

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