Friday, February 7, 2014

Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)

The first Insidious was a pretty decent horror film, but it was made more entertaining than it had any right to be because of the production value, the special effects and the general zeal and energy it had when it pulled off even the most generic jump scares. It blended some classic horror style imagery and tropes into the modern style, and overall was a cut above the usual modern horror crap we get most of the time. So how much do you want to bet the sequel is pointless, lame and has no reason to exist?

Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne

There was no reason to make a sequel to Insidious. It was actually a solid horror film on its own and didn’t need any kind of explanation or elaboration of the story. But, hey, that’s the modern filmmaker’s bible: the audience is stupid. The audience doesn’t understand subtlety and can’t read between the lines. And most importantly, the audience needs every little detail of the story explained to them like a Kindergarten teacher reading Clifford the Big Red Dog – there’s no room for mystery, intrigue and all the other things that make up actual horror! WE NEED EXPLANATIONS!

Basically the directors of movies like Insidious Chapter 2 think the audiences are all like this:

So with that said, anyone else ready to take a plunge knee-deep into some of the lamest modern horror you’ll come across? Yeah me neither. But hey, fuck it, you know?

We start off with a flashback of main character Josh as a kid, showing how he got possessed by spirits when he was a kid and that lady Elise came to help him the first time. They do some kind of weird overly complicated set-up where he shows her where the evil spirits are by communicating via walkie-talkie as she walks around the house. He seems to get the most distressed when she approaches the closet in his bedroom. Probably because he has a porn stash in there.

"Oh my, look at these copies of Bestiality Monthly I found under here! I've been looking for these for ages!"

So I guess it plays out exactly like we heard at the end of the first film – they beat the demons and save Josh, who goes on to live a perfectly boring life until the events of the first movie. Snore. Why did we need this scene? Because without showing every painstaking detail, nobody would understand the movie’s clear genius.

Anyway, back in the modern day, we see the aftermath of the first movie: Elise is dead and the police don’t investigate very seriously at all the fact that she died in these peoples’ house and nobody knows who killed her. I mean, I guess we get one scene where the wife Renai is being questioned by Sergeant Doakes from Dexter for a second:

But other than that, what the hell? How is their house not swarmed with cops? How are they all not immediately locked up in interrogation rooms questioned for hours by the toughest cops the bureau has? I guess old ladies’ lives rank low on the police’s list of priorities. Anyway, we get some boring scenes where Renai questions Josh about what happened, but because this shitty ass movie needs an excuse to keep existing, these scenes are downplayed. God knows, the movie world would just be at a loss if we didn’t have the ensuing hour of dead-eyed supernatural boredom to wade through.

I mean, think of the possibilities otherwise – character development? An interesting moment? Something that actually furthers the story rather than just chucking more exposition at us? THE HORROR!

There’s also these two asswipes; the comedic duo from the first film who served as a sort of foil to the seriousness of the rest of it – they’re some kind of paranormal investigators or something. Give them credit for not being like the investigators in every other movie, but they’re just as bad in a different way. Here they find a videotape in Elise’s old house and put it into the machine. Oh, good, will we get a shitty horror-comedy anthology with aludicrous “wrap around” segment now?

No? Oh well. I must’ve gotten the wrong terrible sequel in 2013.

I guess what we do get is the revelation that Elise once had this other guy she worked with named Carl, or some shit like that – a flimsy plot device used to bring someone with some kind of credibility into the story, because otherwise no-one would know anything. So this guy is some kind of psychic or something, and he knows almost as much about the whole “Further” concept as Elise did. I guess he rolls some dice and that lets him talk to Elise from beyond the grave almost immediately:

This guy must be really good at Scrabble.

What is this, Dungeons and Dragons? Get a life. I’d find it hilarious if the dice accidentally spelled out something randomly while Elise was still thinking of a response. Like if they were asking “how do we beat these evil spirits?” And then the dice just came up with “Cat” completely at random. Would this become Public Enemy #1?

Man, I don’t even know. Most of the first hour of this is so boring, I have to make up completely ridiculous scenarios to even sit through it. What am I supposed to grasp onto otherwise; scenes of Renai hearing creepy noises at night and jumping? One of those times it’s at a glow-in-the-dark baby stroller:

The epitome of terror.

I can just feel my eyelids growing heavier and my brain getting number. Jesus, this is fucking boring. What happened to the manic energy of the first one? That movie was on fire half the time. In even its most generic moments, it felt big and immediate, not letting the viewer fall asleep or get bored. This one is on Valium. It’s just no comparison.

So what, there’s some scenes where they meander around in this old-ass hospital looking for clues? It doesn’t really matter how they get there; the reasoning is so convoluted you’ll go crazy trying to decipher it … something about how this old man grabbed Josh’s arm as a kid and then died the next day.

His mother saw him in the elevator anyway though, even after he died, and then re-enacted the old cliché “I just saw him in the elevator!” “But he died last night!” thing. Usually it’s a good cliché. Here it’s not … after his mom finds out the guy was dead, she just walks away without questioning anything at all, and nobody stops her. I guess they were just used to her spouting random insanities.

Somehow this leads them to the old mental hospital, where they find an old newspaper clipping about five minutes into their search about the “Black Bride,” a serial killer from years and years ago. Within like, a few scenes, they figure out the truth: the Black Bride was actually some weirdo whose mom made him dress up like a girl, and then forced him to kill people for her. Why? Shits and giggles.

Hell, make these guys heads of the detective department! I’m sure we would all benefit from their mental wizardry. Truly they are the master sleuths of the modern age; figuring out decades-old murder cases without even trying. It’s almost like the movie was completely phoned-in in every aspect imaginable, as this clearly is so far removed from reality that you could just label it a fan-fiction, actually.

Most of these flashback scenes are so badly acted, I can’t even tell you. It’s like watching one of those satirical horror movies where everyone overreacts on purpose, but this is supposed to be 100% played straight. There’s a truly horrible scene sometime later where we see a flashback of the killer as a kid while his mom shouts at him cartoonishly for drawing a picture in school with his real name on it, instead of the “girl” name she gave him.

This scene brought to you from the bowels of Tim Burton's subconscious.

This is, no joke, one of the worst things I’ve seen on film at all in recent years – up there with the Kick-Ass 2 “vomit and diarrhea device” scene. How a well-known director like James Wan put this shit on screen is beyond me. I mean I knew he wasn’t great, but c’mon, I expected something that wasn’t … this!

Ugh, Jesus, so I guess everyone starts to guess that Josh isn’t really Josh, but some kind of spirit possessing his body after the end of the first movie. Carl goes in to try and do something I guess, though really since they already know, it seems like there’d be some kind of better plan … I guess not. He gets stabbed with a knife after an overly long “taunting” scene, and then ends up in purgatory with the real Josh, who fortunately has a lantern to help guide him through his aimless “doing nothing” adventures.

"You mean I can actually do things to further a plot?"

Yeah – that’s right. He’s spent the whole time since the end of the first movie just aimlessly wandering around “trying to get out.” He says some bullshit about how he’s been weaker and weaker ever since, but he seems fine to me, so I dunno. I guess he’s just a complete pussy.

So if you were wondering how much further down the bunker-hole of cliché this movie could possibly burrow, we actually get the inevitable return of Elise in ghost forum. I shit you not, she actually says the following line:

"I've seen that better place, but I came back here because I heard you calling, and I think I can help."

Really. You’ve seen the other side, and you still chose to come back and help these two morons. You could have been sipping wine up there on golden thrones with singing cherubs all around you, and you came back. You could have been fine dining with dead celebrities and artists, and you’re here schmaltzing it up in the name of the whoredom that is modern horror cinema. You goddamned sap. Are you even serious … did you read the script? YOU COULD HAVE BEEN LIVING IT UP WITH THE CREATOR OF MANKIND. 72 VIRGINS. ETERNAL PARADISE. WHATEVER YOU WANT. And you’re doing this.

Jesus. So I guess she tells them to go toward the light – hey, why be original now? I guess we get some boring scenes where they go back in time and try to warn their past selves of the demons, or some shit like that. It comes off like a weak-assed version of the Christmas Carol story. Did we really need Scrooge done up by the Casper ghosts? Because that’s about where you’re at. I mean, Doctor Who's latter-day Christmas specials are more plausible.

Back in the real world, possessed Josh decides to take a different path to parenting than his children have perhaps been used to. I like to call it ‘traumatizing 101.’ He strangles her and what not, and I guess anything’s better at this point than the flashback scenes. Sad my standards’ve gotten so low.

We'll start a journalistic expose: From the Spiritual Other Dimension to the therapy chair.

But then they’re saved by the comedy relief:

Brilliant … just brilliant. We get some stupid scenes that I think James Wan confused with his next foray into mainstream pandering, The 40 Year Old Virgin 2: The 40 Year Old Haunting, Because It’s Been Done for 40 Years Now. What I’m trying to say with that is, having a scene where the goofy comic relief idiot busts through the door attempting to look badass right after the climax is over … is a poor way to try and elicit laughs.

*straightens bow-tie*

This movie sucks. There’s nothing about it that’s in any way interesting, except how humorously awful it can be. While it isn’t the worst out there, the writing is a complete mess of cliché and the story is just pointless. So what, the whole first movie happened because some serial killer’s mom made him wear a dress as a kid? Get fucked, movie. I mean, isn’t it just obvious? Isn’t THAT just so apparent to you while watching the first one? With all its subtle hints? Oh wait, there were no hints because you made all of this up on the spot to get more money. Insidious 2 is just a giant piece of shit.

And what’s this? Another scene after the movie ends where the two comic relief jackasses go to some house and ask about a girl? The girl’s father gets defensive, but the younger daughter asks who the woman is behind them – and lo and behold it’s Ghost Elise, because she has no other purpose in life but to be a supernatural slave to these two bungholes because they can’t tie their own shoes. She goes upstairs, sees something scary that the audience can’t see aaaaaand that’s the end. What did she see? My guess is, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Frankly, I can sum up this movie's attitude towards death with one video clip:

Thank you, Matt and Trey. Insidious 2 is nothing but a commercial cash in and you are part of the fuckin’ problem if you liked this one. I hope anyone who saw this in theaters took it upon themselves to go out, after the film was released to DVD, to their local Targets or Walmarts, took the DVDs and burned them right there in the fucking aisles. Because really, the DVD cover isn’t representative of what this soulless film actually contains. Let me show you what it really is:

That’s more like it.

Images copyright of their original owners. I do not own any of them.