Less than two years since the original, and less than two months since his last horror outing The Conjuring, director James Wan has returned to creep us out once again. A word of warning, if you haven't seen chapter one of this particular story, then stop reading now, go watch that (genuinely good) film, and then come back here, because otherwise you will be lost.
Kicking off with a quick trip back to 1986to get some backstory on the ghostly goings on, we're back to the present day, or more precisely, the very next day after the events of the first Insidious movie. Renai (Rose Byrne), Josh (Patrick Wilson) and their kids have moved into his mother's (Barbara Hershey) house while the police investigate the death of Elise (Lin Shaye). It's not long before the ghosts begin visiting this house too, but Renai can't turn to her husband for help this time, as he's been acting weird ever since coming back from "The Further".
The best way to watch Chapter 2 might be if you see it directly after the first movie, as it doesn't exactly ease you into proceedings, and the pace of the movie can be a little disorientating. After the mish-mash of movie references to be found in the original, Chapter 2 adds to that list with visual and story cues from the likes of Paranormal Activity, The Shining, Psycho, Silent Hill and Poltergeist 2. Around two thirds of the way through, it gives up all pretence of trying to make any kind of sense, devolving into a kind of dream logic that you'll either go with, or find laughably bad. There are also some issues with a rather scattershot plot and cumbersome dialogue, with some people speaking almost entirely in exposition.
However, when Chapter 2 gets it right, it REALLY gets it right. Despite all the faults, Wan can still crank up the tension like nobody else in the horror game right now, and some of the scares are proper jump-out-of-the-chair fantastic, with a mid-way excursion to an abandoned hospital that will have you covering your eyes in fear.
Overall, there are some really smart ideas here that are really clumsily executed, but there are still enough scary bits that will make it worth your while.