Director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell teamed up again to revisit the tale of the Lambert Family. Earlier this summer, Wan released The Conjuring which is arguably one of the best horror films of the year, so needless to say I had high expectations.
Packs of teens and college students gathered at the AMC Metreon on Market Street to see the late night premiere of Insidious: Chapter 2 Thursday evening. The sequel takes place almost instantly from which it left off with the Lambert’s still questioning their predicament of housing two members of the family that can somehow communicate with the paranormal world.
As a horror film, Insidious: Chapter 2 had all the clichés: cellar doors that would mysteriously open, lamps that flicker on and off, and of course, a bride dressed in black who has beef with the protagonist. What the movie lacks in horror, the actors make up for in performance, setting them apart from the usual mindless screaming and running. Patrick Wilson, returning as Josh Lambert, gave a chilling performance of a man gone mad. Creepy smiles for the win! And Rose Byrne, returning as Mrs. Lambert, still maintained her character of a panicked mother.
With that said, it is clear that as a director, Wan is trying to add his personal touch to the horror industry. Unsteady camera movements, obscure perspectives, and an eerie grey shadow looming over the cast members are just a few quirks that I’ve noticed in nearly all of Wan’s films. In addition, he seems to favor superfluous dialogue, as if to add a more realistic effect. Much of the movie’s conversations consisted mostly of small talk or characters talking to themselves as we would in everyday life.
It should also be noted that Wan and Whannell pay close attention to the detail and structure of a story. The two movies intertwine with each other in a way that I’ve never seen done before in a horror film. Personally, I feel it’s something to marvel at considering the lack of ingenuity amongst horror films today. Many directors seem to forget the importance of a good story when they’re trying to satiate their audience’s thirst for blood and guts. The combination of both a good story and horror is what makes a great scare film, which is why I think the Saw saga was so successful amongst horror lovers.
It’s embarrassing to say that most of the audience’s reactions throughout the premiere consisted of laughs and scoffs. The film’s PG-13 rating didn’t seem to help either. I believe that many movie goers, including myself, would assert that good scary movies are usually rated R. Maybe the film could have cut it as a thriller or suspense, but as a horror, Insidious: Chapter 2 simply dropped the ball when it came to scaring the audience.