Horror sequels are rarely ever very good. Great horror movies are pretty rare to begin with, and when you consider how inferior sequels generally are to their originals, it’s remarkable when any horror sequel isn’t simply terrible. Insidious, Chapter 2 is one of the best of the last decade or so.
The first Insidious was the best horror movie of 2011. It was essentially just a haunted-house movie, but it was so good at earning legitimate scares, it rose high above its standard plot and borrowed ideas. The original movie ended with a cliffhanger that could have easily remained an open ending to a single story, but it is now continued in Insidious, Chapter 2.
The story, involving married couple Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) and the hauntings that surround their family, picks up right where the original left off. Josh, having ventured into “The Further,” has rescued his lost son. Unfortunately, Josh wasn’t able to return to his body before something else did.
The sequel’s plot splits in two early on. One half of the movie involves Renai and her slow realization that the changes in her husband since his return may signify something horrific. The other half involves Josh’s mother (Barbara Hershey) and three paranormal investigators (Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, and Angus Sampson) looking into psychic Elise’s death at the end of Insidious.
The threads find their way together again by the end but along the way, the screenplay (by Whannell himself) takes a number of incredibly unpredictable and remarkably clever turns. Without revealing too much, it should be said that the more recently you’ve seen Insidious, the more you’ll appreciate parts of the sequel. In the same way that Back to the Future, Part II revisits scenes of the original from a different perspective, Insidious, Chapter 2 changes much of what you thought you knew.
The sequel’s ending strongly hints that a third entry in the series will be on its way. With how often this movie returns to the original’s bag of tricks, they’d better wait until they have a great idea for a third one. Until then, perhaps it would be best to simply be grateful that Insidious, Chapter 2 managed to be pretty good.