© Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH

Insidious: Chapter 2
U.S.A. 2013

Opening 17 Oct 2013

Directed by: James Wan
Writing credits: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Principal actors: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey

Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Garrett Ryan, Jocelin Donahue, Lindsay Seim, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Steve Coulter

Flashback: 1986 and young Elise (Lindsay Seim) – hypnotist and supernatural expert – arrives late at night at Loraine (Jocelin Donahue) Lambert’s home to help her boy. Recognizing the presence of a “malignant parasite”, Elise makes him forget. Fast forwarding, Chapter 2 picks-up the morning following where Insidious left off. Josh (Patrick Wilson) was able to pull young Dalton (Ty Simpkins) back from The Further, but a tragic consequence results in the police questioning wife Renai (Rose Byrne). Now a schoolteacher and family man, Josh’s son has inherited his ability to travel outside his physical body. Seeking a safe haven, Josh and family move in with grandmother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) – three generations under one roof. Lorraine proactively calls in Specs (Leigh Whannell/writer) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), the ghost-hunting duo. Stymied, they eventually turn to Elise’s (Lin Shaye) friend and former colleague Carl (Steve Coulter), a gifted albeit reluctant physic. With the pieces in place, the action escalates with horrifying dizziness as we shift from past to present and between worlds – the one we know and The Further, where the dead live on to torment the living.

Since college in Melbourne, Australia, collaborators James Wan and Whannell swapped ghost stories. “We took all the scares, all the great ghost stories we’d heard, and put them in the film (Insidious)”. This sequel, shot in twenty-six days in or around Los Angeles, California with the original cast, has a handful of new characters. The strong storyline, combining time travel (25 years into the past) with astral projection, is visually believable through cinematographer John R. Leonetti’s framing, salient color palette, and unnerving contrasts. Which Kirk M. Morri cuts on, and Joseph Bishara’s music’s originality complements. Budgetary restrictions forced creativity: at production designer Jennifer Spence’s film locations; in prop master Thom Spence’s applications – the tin-can telephone portal is especially disarming; via Kristin M. Burke’s details in dressing the living, and dead, 19th and 20th century characters. As a sequel, Chapter 2 – even without seeing the original – is a terrifying psychological horror thriller. Wan and Whannell’s filmmaking partnership is just getting started, and worth following. (Marinell Haegelin)

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