Frocky Horror; ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ (2013).

19 Sep

Oh look, another horror film with another number tacked on to the title. Seriously, the movie-going public needs a sequel to 2011’s Insidious about as much as they need an actual demonic possession.

Directed by James Wan and picking up right where the original left off, Insidious: Chapter 2 follows Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as a pair of petrified parents whose lives are turned upside-down by some rather frustrated ghouls and ghosts. No amount of house-movings, séances or Saw references will quell the undead, so the couple enlist the help of an array of paranormal researchers (including Lin Shaye and Steve Coulter). In doing so, they stumble upon alternate dimensions, ‘shocking’ family secrets, and a lot of other confusing stuff that I can’t go into here, because I’ve already forgotten it all. Deliberately.

The first Insidious was a strange and surreal movie that tried (and failed) to hide its ostentatious ambitions under the guise of a serious horror flick. Its sequel is a similarly madcap romp, but not in a good way. While the original featured a cast of paranormal villains including (but not limited to) The Crow, a zombie drag queen and some bizarre Darth Maul/Spider Man/Freddy Krueger hybrid, this time around a spectral Joan Crawford look-alike is calling the shots. The whole thing feels like a particularly zany episode of Supernatural, and for that it’s oddly endearing, without actually being any good.

One moment it’s trying to shock, but before you get to jump out of your seat one of the bumbling Laurel and Hardy-esque clowns falls over or Wilson trots out a line from a script that’s so B-movie, it’s verging on Rocky Horror territory. Balancing horror with comedy is a tough gig – too many scares suck the humour out, while an abundance of jokes or slapstick negates any empathy with the terrorised hero(es). It takes a truly skillful director to keep both plates spinning, and frankly Wan’s crockery is cracked.

“Boring” is perhaps an unexpected adjective for a such hyped horror, but this movie evokes far more yawns than screams. The peppy exuberance that made its predecessor somewhat memorable has been jettisoned in favour of a head-scratchingly convoluted plot and an avalanche of unnecessary exposition. In a post-Conjuring world (which, bizarrely, Wan also directed), the bar has been raised for this sort of thing. As it is, Insidious: Chapter 2 limbos neatly under said bar, with room to spare, before collapsing beneath the combined weight of a crazy plot, hammy acting and sub-par Shining plagiarism.

Simon says: Egregious: 2 Chapters 2 Many.

[Written for GCN.ie]

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