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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Insidious: Chapter 2 | Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
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Insidious: Chapter 2 | Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey | Review

The Lambert family is back and so are their troubles.  In fact, with the death of psychic Elise Ranier (Lin Shaye) who so valiantly brought about young Dalton’s (Ty Simkins) rescue via the astral projection of his dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) in the original film, the deadly entity that haunts the Lamberts wherever they go seems to have taken hold of another member.

This time Josh is not feeling like himself, which is a problem because what he is feeling like is killing everyone around him including wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), whose home the family has moved into.

And just because Elise has been murdered in the first film does not mean she can’t pop up in the latest sequel directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell (Saw).

Bumbling paranormal researchers Tucker and Specs (Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell) together with Elise’s former protégé Carl Stanaway (Steve Coulter) also return to try to help the family with dice, a tranquilizer injection, and forays into an abandoned hospital for answers about the entity’s origin and intentions.

The house is full of creaking doors that open and close, a piano that plays itself, an apparition of a woman in white, and whispers that come through a baby monitor.  And don’t forget that the closet holds special terrors.  Renai is terrified; Josh is complacent with a creepy smile and false comfort.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

As the investigators close in on answers to the deadly mystery, the family becomes endangered by their very own patriarch who is being overtaken by a malicious force.  Astral projection transports some of the players into a plane known as “the Further” where dead and living mingle in an unnatural world of past and present.

Wan and Whannell, as well as their cast are talented individuals, making the lackluster finished product all the more disappointing to horror fans who embraced the clever, unsettling original.

Shifting too rapidly between scenes of “the Further” and present day occurrences, the film disintegrates into a sometimes confusing, sometimes incoherent mish-mash of past and present storylines.  There are some tense moments, but even more dull ones to wade through, and intentional buffoonery by Sampson and Whannell only succeeds in undermining whatever chill factor might lurk inside this decidedly less effective sequel.

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