Insidious 2: No Darth Maul demon but that’s okay

You may have read my review of Insidious Part 1 wherein I unabashedly share how much I love that movie. Not surprisingly, I had huge expectations for Chapter 2. Though it didn’t make my heart sing like its predecessor, the sequel was fantastic. James Wan and Leigh Whannel obviously took a lot of pride and care in crafting another excellent horror movie for us fans.

The film starts off immediately after the first chapter ends. Meaning all the actors/character we know and love are back. Impressively, the two little boys look exactly the same as they did in the first go around. Obviously, time was of the essence in making this movie. We all know I was happy to see the familiar faces especially Barbara Hershey (I’m thinking of being her when I grow up.) Sorry if you haven’t seen this first one yet, but the trailers make it obvious that the spirit realm isn’t done with the Lambert family. In fact, when dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) returned from “the further” to rescue son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), he brought SOMETHING eviiiiiil back with him. That’s the basic plot.  Please consider yourself  **SPOILER** warned from this point on. And what the hell is wrong with you if you haven’t seen these movies yet? Get on it! :p

Let me run down the stuff I loved about this one. I like doing this in bullet points for those of us with short attention spans: 

  • The humor. We know these beloved film makers always throw us some comic relief. Well done comic relief in horror is something of an art all on it’s own. The comedy is delivered in the form of the returning characters of Specs and Tucker. I guess you’d call them paranormal investigators/technicians to the endearing clairvoyant Elise.  These two guys have awesome chemistry together and were seriously my second favorite part of this movie.
  • My first favorite part: There is one little scare that was so subtle it made this little horror nerd want to weep. Okay here it is- when Renai Lambert is on the phone and is nonchalantly walking from room to room. Our director set it up perfectly. There is a spectral creepy ghost lady just sitting there. No fanfare, no music, no indication, nothing. Just BOOM there she is sitting calmly out of focus in the background. This was not the only phenomenal scare, but it was my personal favorite. I get all jazzed just thinking about it. *sigh* 
  • The corpses under the sheets in the Crane house. Such a brilliant use of not over-showing the creepiness to the audience. Often what your imagination fills in is even worse. However, the mold is a good indication of what was happening under there. Oh, and the rotted hands. Nasty.
  • The way the two films flowed together so perfectly. It really was Chapters 1&2. I loved how Josh basically time travels back into the first movie to a very familiar scene where the front door and alarm was mysteriously going off. Well, now we know what that was all about.
  • The very end. I liked that the crack team of Elise, Specs and Tucker are still out helping people. This was a classy set up for further movies. We’ve been told James Wan won’t be involved. I strongly hope that whoever picks of the torch for more movies treats this franchise and it’s audience with respect. A high bar has been raised!
  • I could probably go on about this movie. But I think y’all get the drift. I liked it.

Okay, I had one big gripe with the movie. Really, this is the only thing that irked me.

  • The character of the mother of Parker Crane. She’s referred to as Mother Mortis at one point. Let’s just call her Ma. Turns out it was Ma drifting around the Lambert family compound misplacing the baby and whispering creepily. Ma has that distinctive look of a James Wan character, which I like. However, I feel like they really cranked up her performance to borderline melodrama. Everything from her exaggerated appearance, to her voice and mannerisms is really not subtle. Now, I’ve told myself that she probably “seemed” that way because it was through the filter of her damaged son Parker’s memories. I also think they decided to keep her on the cartoon-y side because the emotional, verbal, and physical abuse she’s inflicting on little Parker/”Marilyn” is fucking disturbing. I’m not a parent (nor planning to be one) but it’s hard for many people to watch any sort of violence towards kids. It’s important to the story as a whole in this case to show the relationship between Ma and Parker. Maybe they decided that by taking Ma in such a flamboyant direction it would keep us away from Precious style parental abuse. What we end up is more Mommy Dearest. I guess I’ll take it.

Well, that’s it! I hope you guys liked Chapter 2 as much as I did. I got some feedback to grade/rate movies. Until I figure out a system I like more, I’m going to go with the standard A+ through F system.

Insidous 2 Grade: A

 

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Insidious: Come tip-toe through the tulips with Barbara Hershey and Darth Maul!!

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Thank you James Wan and Leigh Whannel for the tasty little gift that is Insidious. This movie makes me long for days of my youth and middle school sleepovers. It would totally have been our jam! I also just love how this movie kinda took people by surprise. General consensus I have found is that people were not expecting to like this movie as much they did. It just goes to show what fun little magic can be had by blending a smart script and good actors into a tasty evil stew. Did I mention that I adore Barbara Hershey and she’s in the movie? Shes fab, yes?!

Meet the Lambert family. They seem like an okay bunch. If you like those upper suburban types with too many children. Three children to be exact. Which is three too many in my book. Anyway, they move into a big ole house which is always a mistake for these suburban WASP-y family types. That theory proves true when little tyke Dalton Lambert slips into a mysterious “coma” which can’t be explained by modern medicine. They move him back home and thats when shiz starts really getting freaky. I’m talking disembodied voices coming through the baby monitor, creepy shadow like people start cropping up, Satan is playing door-ditch with them, so on and so forth.  Family patriarch Josh is distant and seems less concerned with his wife Renai insisting the problem could be ghosts. Regardless, they move houses again.  Around this time we’re introduced to Ms. Hershey as Lorraine, Josh’s mother.

Well, turns out the house wasn’t the problem. Pretty much immediately freaky hijinks start in again. Including  finding some way to make the old time-y song “Tiptoe through the Tulips” by Tiny Tim even creepier. Lorraine jumps to Renai’s aide by validating her claims that what the family is experiencing is actually happening because she’s been there before. Enter Specs and Tucker, two Ghost-Hunter types who work as assistants to Elise Rainier a psychic ghost whisperer lady. We can thank Specs and Tucker for some awesome comic relief. Elise breaks down the situation for mom & dad. Dalton is a little “traveler”. In his sleep he can leave his physical body and hop around in different places and dimensions. One such dimension is where the ghosts like to hang out. When they see Dalton’s shell, they’re all vying to get in. Including a demon. A demon who looks just a tad like Darth Maul. Now this doesn’t bother me in the least because it’s a not-so-secret fact that I’m obsessed with Darth Maul. So I was into it. Now there is another big twist here but I’m gonna hold off on writing about it.

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I don’t want to say too much more than that. Because this movie is just a bucket of fun. It’s got its little hiccups and hitches. Maybe some cliches now and again. But I really just don’t care! And I suggest you embrace the same mentality. And in case you didn’t know, there is currently a sequel in the works. I don’t anticipate loving it as much as the original, but I’m excited about it. We’re getting the same cast, James and Leigh back again so thats a boon. Hey, I’ve got a good idea! Let’s meet up again this fall and talk about how much we loved or hated the sequel. Kthanxbai.