Why ‘Insidious Chapter 2′ May Be A Hard Act To Follow

Trapped in the Further? Or watching 'Insidious Chapter 10?'

Trapped in the Further? Or watching ‘Insidious Chapter 10?’

Insidious Chapter 2 is a movie that’s surprisingly solid and largely dodges the problems of horror sequels. Audiences certainly agree; it made $40 million last weekend. Considering the movie has already grossed eight times its budget and is unlikely to have any real competition this month, Insidious Chapter 3 is already in the works… but maybe it shouldn’t be.

Actors Get Bored

Horror movies work, or don’t work, on the strength of their casts. A really good horror movie is a character drama, at heart, and there’s only so many times you can have an actor go back to the well before they run out of things to do. Patrick Wilson, in Insidious Chapter 2, averts this like a champ, and the script very much runs with the idea of bad fathers and lost parents as a source of horror. But where’s Part 3 going to go?

Exposition Piles Up

Horror movies work best when there’s not a lot of backstory or detail you have to be caught up on; Michael Myers, for example was disturbing because all you knew about him was that he liked to kill people; you literally don’t even see his face. Insidious Chapter 2 dodges this, even though it literally picks up moments after the first movie ends. To be fair the movie doesn’t have a lot of “mythology” just yet, but even so, there’s now two movies to deal with.

Sequels And Remakes Tend To Repeat

Insidious Chapter 2 actually manages to find new places to get horror from; the movie centers around a troubled father, not a troubled child, and that’s a whole different can of worms. Still, Hollywood, when it pays for a sequel or remake, isn’t paying for originality; it’s paying for the same movie, but over again, with a bigger budget. “Second verse same as the first” just doesn’t work for horror movies, and there are limited places for it to go.

The fact that Insidious Chapter 2 is an engaging horror movie in its own right is a feather in the cap for all involved. But perhaps it’s a feather they shouldn’t try to embellish any further.