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It might only be September, but horror movie season is here. The scream-scene has, unfortunately, become relatively lackluster in recent years. It seems that all the gimmicks are done. All our buttons have been pushed. Audiences just aren't jumping out of their seats anymore. Each scary movie trailer that's cropped up this year feels formulaic, claiming to be the best horror film you'll see. Insidious: Chapter 2 is one of those films. And, despite its promising trailer, falls short of the mark.
You would expect James Wan's script to have a better handle on madness. After all, he was the brains behind Saw, the one film in that entire franchise that truly balanced gore with psychological fear. The first chapter of Insidious was great. It was Friday The 13th spun through a Sixth Sense filter. The plot was a refreshing take on the haunted-house archetype. But, with so many thrillers following Wan's lead, the theme now feels pat. Furthermore, Insidious: Chapter 2 is a lot more camp than mind-bending fear.
It's not Patrick Wilson or Rose Byrne's fault, either. The leads deliver stellar performances, and give life to a relatively basic script. Special effects aren't necessary in every horror film, but Insidious 2 could have benefitted from them. Relying on sharp bursts of sound to make the audience jump works for a couple of scares. But, the fantasy element felt too easy. Insidious 2 is not at all bad, though. It has scary elements, and is an overall fun movie-going experience. In terms of horror, though, it's not reinventing the wheel. It barely keeps the wheel turning.
Still, for horror fans, there are a few things we can learn from it. For one, the Lambert's home is the perfect 21st century haunted house. If you're planning a Halloween bash, this film is chock full of inspiration. Though it'll be pretty difficult to construct a portal to The Further (the Narnia of demons), there's nothing a nice fog machine and dim lighting can't fix. The following Insidious 2-inspired tips will help turn your house in to a regular old american horror story. Check out the film if you want, but definitely check out these pointers.