Resurrecting a dead genre with ‘Insidious Chapter 2’

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By: David Combest

October 2, 2013

It is no surprise that many mainstream films are in decline. Hollywood studios pump out banal dramas, unfunny comedies, cartoony sci-fi and underdeveloped horror. Horror is probably suffering the worst of all genres because it has been sold to sensationalism in such an extreme degree, more so than the other genres.

Horror has produced emotional, empathic and human work within its long history in all mediums of art. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” H.G. Well’s “The Invisible Man,” Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” come to mind when thinking of excellent examples within the horror genre. Such works profile identity, struggle against conformity, isolation, insanity and the human condition.

Even cult films have a beautiful blend of comedy that may be more entertaining than art, but the genre is excellent entertainment that holds itself high up over the poor works of contemporary horror films. Such examples are “Evil Dead II,” “Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness” and “Re-Animator.”  These films sacrifice themes, but do offer well thought-out universes and dialogue, along with strong acting and directing to make it an excellent romp of a good time. However, most horror shows do not reach the level of well thought-out cult following films or art.

In recent times, many horrors have been so bad, that they are justified in the face of poor reviews as a dark humor satire or some loose interpretation of postmodern work. This is not the case with James Wan, the 36-year-old Australian director best known for successful works as “Saw,” “Dead Silence,” “Insidious” and “The Conjuring.” Wan’s films have been met with much praise, earning themselves high ratings that his work does not even need to be excused or justified against bad reviews.

In his latest effort with “Insidious Chapter 2,” we are rejoined with the Lambert family as they struggle with spirits invading their lives. Josh is not well since he’s returned from the “Further,” a universe where ghost and demons exist, to save his son; the family notices this as his manner becomes more and more strange.

There is a ghost woman who stalks the halls tormenting the family, as Josh’s attitude and actions become murderous. The film serves as an epilogue to the first “Insidious” film more than a sequel. The acting is well done with Patrick Wilson, often referred to as Wan’s muse since he has been in many of the director’s work.