They're baaack…and this time, it's not the kid that's haunted.
James Wan's The Conjuring just raked in over $250 million worldwide at the box office. Can the sequel to his 2011 hit top that? One thing's for sure; opening on Friday the 13th will certainly help. (Fun fact: Insidious opened on April Fools' Day!)
Starting minutes after the end of Insidious, the Lambert family has no time to breathe since rescuing their son from the demonic netherworld known as the Further. Elise (the awesome Lin Shaye) didn't survive the first film so it's a good thing helpful spirits reside there too. Dear old dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) is acting mighty strange though. A flashback to when Elise first met Josh's mom (Barbara Hershey) fills in some blanks. In fact, a great portion of the sequel is spent expanding the backstory. Is that a good thing?
Fans of the James Wan's horror flicks will be treated to the director's carnivalesque approach where antiques, especially the kind found in an abandoned asylum, are mystifying. There's an overload of motionless bodies draped in sheets, wicked playthings and those incessant baby monitors.
What there isn't a lot of is story.
Five things to know before tiptoeing through the tulips once more:
1. Dad's Got Issues. Wan wanted the focus of the follow-up to be about tension built up in a marriage between spouses. Josh (Wilson) returned from the Further with a stowaway. Renai (Rose Byrne) knows something is up way before Josh gets all Jack Torrance Shining-style. Heeeere's Joshy!
2. Creepy Clues: Boggle Edition! Since Ouija boards are a nuisance to bring along when tailing the undead, Carl (Steve Coulter) is the "dice man" who asks spirits for answers with his trusty game pieces. Words like death and blood are worth only 2 points though.
3. Further into the Further. Lin Shaye's Elise returns to help out. Shaye was the big scene-stealer in the original (she's the one who says "it's not the house that's haunted!") so any reason (however hokey) to have her back is fine by us. The exception being a flashback early on where Elise meets young Josh. Actress Lindsay Seim plays young Elise but Shaye's voice is dubbed over the younger actress. We love Shaye too, but the voice-overing distracts.
4. The Woman in White. We won't spoil the character identity of this witchy specter (Danielle Bisutti), but her ghostly appearances induce plenty of heebie-jeebies. Best is when she suddenly appears (in a single take) sitting on a couch. Watch out, mother.
5. Still More Chills to Come? Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell (who also plays Specs, the head of the poltergeist patrol) put every trick they had in the first film. For the sequel, they go back to the same tricks, lessening the impact. The last scene more than hints at Chapter 3. Sigh.
Will Chapter 2 will be scarier than Chapter 1? Is hearing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" not that scary anymore? Sound off in the comments!