We’re taking a small break from social relevance this week, considering I was actually able to get to a real in-theater movie this week. It’s not easy, when you consider most of my funds and time are going towards post-college education, but I was able to make an exception for James Wan’s latest horror flick, a welcome change from the usual bombardment of Superhero movie after superhero movie, and romantic comedy after romantic comedy (most of which have at least two of ‘charming,’ ‘heartwarming,’ and ‘feel good’ in the advert.)
I was genuinely concerned this film was going to suck. Who honestly remembers a solid horror sequel? Saw 2, The Grudge 2, Pet Semetary 2… It’s not been a good run. Wan had just directed a fantastic mid-summer horror in The Conjuring, so it was expected that he would be riding the wave of popularity from this film’s original, in order to prop up a highly mediocre product. The advertisements didn’t help, as the shots looked choppy and absent of the intensity of the original. But, it was a horror film I liked, and it had Rose Byrne, so I felt obliged to go see it. (Don’t judge me.)
The audience picks up right off where we left after Insidious, with the Lambert family still reeling from the recovery of their son from the spirit realm. Their prominent psychic is dead, strangled to death in their own home. The police are involved, and not at all convinced that a supernatural being was able to kill a live woman.
As a viewer, you’ll be completely lost if you didn’t see the original. And, as the IMDB and fan section of rotten tomatoes would indicate, it’s actually done better with the plebeians than the original (I use the term affectionately, as I’m the first person to consider movie reviewers snobs and pretentious assholes. Only the professionals though, of course). It’s not bad, although the flock of 13-15 year old girls screaming loudly behind me might have taken away from some of the magic of the film.
The strongest area of improvement from the original is Patrick Wilson’s acting. He looked somewhat lost in the original, striding around useless and hopeless for most of the first act. In The Conjuring, he wasn’t exactly challenged with a diverse or colorful role, either. Here, with a much more complex character to play, Wilson really comes into his own, full of crazed smiles and unpredictable, erratic behavior. A thumbs up for the rest of the cast, and most certainly two up for Patrick Wilson in his best performance so far.
For most of you, waiting until this inevitably is released on netflix (the predecessor’s claim to fame) will be the correct course of action. Ten dollars is a lot of money to have your eardrums pierced by a screaming competition as will inevitably happen in any theater with… ah… a high school in the area. I’d recommend it, but only because I’m a fan of the original. If that wasn’t your thing, chances are this won’t be, either.