If you weren’t spooked by James Wan’s 2011 supernatural horror Insidious, you stand little chance of making sense of the sequel.
Screenwriter Leigh Whannell reunites with director Wan to craft a mind-bending narrative that is disappointingly light on edge-of-seat shocks.
Chapter 2 begins directly after events of Insidious and repeatedly throws back to mysterious phenomena from the first film. The mood swings between suspense and comedy are jarring and dialogue creaks almost as much as the house at the centre of the malevolent manifestation. ‘Let’s just say, this is not a place where a lot of good things have happened!’ ominously declares one character.
When we last met Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne), they had moved into a new house with their sons Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and Foster (Andrew Astor), where dark forces prevailed.
Insidious 2 sees the family move in with Josh’s mother, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), and Josh begins to behave erratically, disturbing Renai whose nerves are shredded when she is attacked by a ghostly figure (Danielle Bisutti) in the living room.
Insidious - Chapter 2 is even more ludicrous than the first, squandering the talents of the cast in thankless and occasionally risible roles. Wilson and Byrne are reduced to gibbering lunatics while Hershey stumbles blindly around abandoned buildings – an apt metaphor for the directionless script.
Unintentional laughs supplant screams of terror, but to give Wan credit he doesn’t resort to splatter and gore.
The spectre of a potential third film in the series haunts the closing frames – which is the only thing that sends a chill down the spine in 105 forgettable minutes.