Copyright © 2013 by FilmDistrict
Set after the events of ‘Insidious’, it explores the origins of the Bride in Black entity which had taken over Josh Lambert’s (Patrick Wilson) physical form while attempting to guide his son, Dalton’s (Ty Simpkins) soul back to his body and into the real world. It delves further into the history of the Bride when it tried possessing Josh unsuccessfully when he was a boy and its motivations for being patiently persistent. With the help of Dalton and Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), a friend of Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey) who had been murdered earlier after discovering Josh’s secret, they vow to reunite Josh with his body and rid of the Bride’s presence for good.
It is a 2 for 2. After the hugely successful ‘The Conjuring’ which premiered in July, there was great anticipation for the sequel to this sleeper hit. There have been its detractors who thought of it as merely a cash grab and the story is a rehash of the original. While it did thrive at the box office and the scares are somewhat familiar (James Wan’s previous hits are big inspirations here), what works is the decision to layer the original with increased depth in characterisation and purpose.
What is being offered at least does not feel recycled and is actually required for closure as to how Leigh Whannell’s script took us the very first time. We were introduced briefly as to why this unrest soul was so eager to inhabit Josh since his childhood days but never more than a teaser as the focus had always been the son’s plight to escape the clutches of another demonic existence. Scripting duties once again goes to Whannell and he has ensured that all issues faced by daddy are covered thoroughly and thoughtfully.
You can argue on some of the film’s logic i.e. spirited Josh is able to time travel to meet his younger self and intercept a sinister figure even before he knew what he is capable of (Elise suppressed his memories on his ability for his own protection) but if you are spirited away to another realm, I guess time is at a halt and anything is possible. Other than this gripe, the story flows fluidly, alternating with the real and surreal seamlessly. For something so menacing and villainous, the Bride in Black does score some sympathy points for the emasculation it suffered while alive and still in torment as it attempts to relive the past.
The source for such pain spreads from a very ‘nurturing’ mother and is played to devilish perfection by Danielle Bisutti. It would have been a tad more developed if she was given a larger role on her obsession for a child of a particular gender. For a character who met her demise a little too soon, it is refreshing to see Shaye’s prominence elevated considerably and still a force to be reckoned with, even in the afterlife. The star undoubtedly belongs to Wilson for his deranged performance as a supposedly remorseless killer. It is disturbing on many levels but yet is able to maintain a certain finesse to his overall portrayal. Watch out for his ‘shining’ moment as he reaches pass his breaking point.
In spite of some textbook scares to raise the scare-o-meter, it is nevertheless still very watchable with a justifiable cause for its continuity. The ending is what you would expect from a horror franchise and as Wan is currently involved with another fast and furious series, only time will tell if he would be up for another round. A change of genre is always great to conjure the creative juices back!
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of terror and violence, and thematic elements