For many moviegoers, sequels are the laughing stock of the Hollywood crop. The default position is that they are profit motivated, derivative projects that can’t possibly have the same level of value as their predecessors. What is left unsaid is that finding a good sequel is like encountering a regional variation of your favorite dish. It leads you to understand that it both intensifies and expands upon what you thought of a meal you may have always taken for granted.
Despite what you may hear elsewhere, Insidious: Chapter 2 is a good sequel. They will tell you it isn’t as scary as the first one, as if you can quantify your fright when the leering face of a wicked ghost sends you jumping out of your seat. They will smugly tell you that it’s Body Snatchers meets Back to the Future, without realizing how gracefully it uses these elements to expand upon the first film. They will tell you it sucks, while ignoring its dichotomous and delightful dance between supernatural horror and science fiction. They will tell you all of these things, while forgetting how much fun they could have had if they had just surrendered to the films eerie, Twilight Zone-esque tale. Walk through the red door of Insidious: Chapter 2, and I believe you will come out the other end terrified and oddly satisfied with the spunk of its spook.
I am not asking that you “turn off your brain” before watching Insidious: Chapter 2. The film contains heady themes including cross dressing, the Capgras delusion, and the terrifyingly sobering thought that what awaits us after death is no more than a black void sparsely populated by lost souls doomed to wander it for eternity. It’s not exactly light stuff.
The house in the film may strongly resemble the house atop the Bates Motel (one of a few cool shout outs to Psycho), but the secrets and terror within are no old school horror throwback. It is Insidious: Chapter 2, and before you decide that all sequels inherently suck, please hear it roar.