"Insidious Chapter 2" is the follow-up to director James Wan's hugely popular 2011 horror hit "Insidious," which he made for only $1.5 million and went on to gross nearly $55 million. Wan returned to direct the sequel, and like the original it chronicles the lives of the Lamberts, a family with an unusual connection to the paranormal realm – called the Further – thanks to a father and son's abilities to communicate with the dead. The movie manages to expand the story to make room for future installments, and despite mixed reviews it's likely this sequel will rake in a big opening, so expect teens (and even some tweens) to ask to go this weekends.
There's no question that this is a horror movie, but if you're considering letting your tween see "Insidious Chapter 2," keep reading.
1. What did you think of the original? As the title makes clear, "Insidious Chapter 2" is the follow-up to the enormously successful low-budget, high-grossing 2011 horror film, "Insidious." It's not completely necessary to see the original, as the exposition in the sequel does bring new audiences fairly up to speed, but the importance of several characters won't make as much sense, neither will some of the jokes or even the paranormal realm where the characters must travel to save another loved one. If you liked the original, this is an easy decision, since the sequel is no scarier or gorier than the first. If you aren't familiar with "Insidious" but have kids who want to see the second installment, keep reading!
2. How sensitive is your kid to frights? Some kids are thick-skinned when it comes to horror: they love going to haunted houses, listening to spooky tales and enjoy getting a little freaked out, whereas others are just as likely to spend whole movie scenes with their eyes closed. Horror films are unique in that the audience tends to make a lot of noise, laugh during preposterous scenes and yell out advice to the characters on screen. They're a lot of fun (for the right viewer), but that doesn't mean they're not genuinely frightening. In addition to the many "jump scenes," "Insidious 2" includes a freaky-looking old cross-dressing serial killer who killed more than a dozen women. Some of the characters are dead or presumed dead, and one character is possessed. Oh, and one of the villains is a an over-the-top bloodthirsty mother.
3. Do you worry about sex/language? There's actually not much of either in this movie. Like in the original, the central characters are a married couple with three young children (not hormonal high schoolers like many horror flicks), and there's virtually no sexual contact between the parents. The language is fairly tame as well, so the rating is clearly directed at the frightening/violent scenes and the paranormal themes.
4. Who will enjoy the movie most? It's safe to say that audiences who are fans of the horror genre (and director James Wan) will like the movie – and be the most forgiving of its flaws. There are some genuine scares and moments that'll make you jump or want to hide behind your hands, so it's not the best "first" horror movie for a teen to see (also because it's a sequel). On the other hand, at least it's not one of those slasher films featuring a ton of torture and gore. This isn't that bloody a horror movie; it's a ghost/possession story with a subplot about a dead Norman Bates-like serial killer. Ultimately, if your teen already saw and liked "Insidious" then this is fine; otherwise it's probably best to see how they handle the original at home before going to see the second chapter.
5. What are critics saying about "Insidious Chapter 2"? Reviews for "Insidious: Chapter 2" are mixed; on Rotten Tomatoes it currently has a "rotten" 46 percent, with the exact same score (as of the Thursday before release) on Metacritic. However, the critics who like it found a lot to praise: " A modestly scaled and highly pleasurable sequel to Wan's low-budget 2011 smash that should have genre fans begging for thirds," writes Scott Foundas, Variety. [Does] enough to expand and explore the world they've created to satisfy fans and justify a sequel. In the horror genre, that's a huge win," writes Geoff Berkshire, HitFix. Other critics were less impressed: "For all but the most forgiving horror fans, this is a lazy, stupid and incoherent failure," writes Nigel Floyd, Time Out London.