Insidious: Chapter 2–Disappointing Sequel, Commercial Hit

Director James Wan, who scored earlier this summer with The Conjuring, one of the scariest and most profitable horror films of the year, is back with Insidious: Chapter 2, an inferior sequel, quickly made to cash in on the commercial success of the first picture.

A sleeper, Insidious was a low budget flick (about $1.5 million), which scored big at the box-office (over $50 million)
There are enough scares in the sequel to make it accessible for the fans and the top picture this weekend. Almost critics-proof, the new PG-13 rated horror should do well. Moreover, judging by the last image of this story, I have no doubts that there will be Insidious: Chapter 3.

In the first “Insidious,” Dalton Lambert (Ty Simpkins) was depicted as the son of Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne), who landed in a coma after being taken into a spirit world, “the further,” by a demonic individual wishing to possess his soul. But it was actually Josh himself who had been pursued by the demon.

Again scripted by longtime Wan collaborator Leigh Whannell, shot by the same cinematographer and designed by the same team, Chapter 2 is not a remake of the first flick (like so many other sequels), but it’s at once contrived and convoluted, and a step down for all concerned.

Chapter 2 tale begins with a flashback to Josh’s childhood and his encounter with the hypnotist Elise (Lin Shaye), who had seemingly died in the first film’s last scene.

Cut to the present, in which the Lamberts have moved in with Josh’s mom, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), though they have not arrived alone. Things get into motion with the unexpected appearance of some unwanted guests, such as a ghoulish bride, which motivates Lorraine to enlist some sidekicks, such as Specks (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). Also showing up is the paranormal investigator Carl (Steve Coulter), who had first investigated the Lambert case with Elise.

Director Wan and scribe Whannell have concocted a trivial, second-rate ghost story, populated by restless spirits, which feels like a pastiche of cliches and characters, borrowed from their films as well as from others.

Commercial Hit

Boosted by a Friday-the-13th launch, FilmDistrict’s low-budget film beat expectations with an estimated $41.1 million, making it the largest opening in September for a horror film.

“Insidious 2,” which cost just $5 million from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse shingle, beat the month’s previous scarer record holdover, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” which opened with $30.5 million in 2005. The FilmDistrict-distributed pic has the second-largest overall opening in September, behind only last year’s toon “Hotel Transylvania” ($42.5 million).

The stellar opening for “Insidious 2″ is thanks to a good opening day gross, which accounted for nearly half of the film’s three-day tally. Picture fell a steeper-than-usual 34% Friday-Saturday, largely due to midnight grosses and the effect of Friday the 13th.