James Wan's The Conjuring has been widely-dubbed the scariest film of the year (so far), more than quadrupled its $20 million budget at the U.S. box office alone, and possibly birthed a new horror franchise in the process. If reading all that information gives you a feeling of deja vu, it might be because Wan accomplished a similar task back in 2011, with Insidious: the Saw director's take on the family-in-peril/haunted house sub-genre, starring The Conjuring's leading man, Patrick Wilson.
Insidious: Chapter 2 will open in theaters in the dying days of Summer this year, with Wan back directing the followup to his original installment (unlike the Saw sequels, which he only produced). In a newly-released international trailer, we get to glimpse some of the film's "time-traveling" - with flashbacks to Josh (Wilson) experience as a child (with Garrett Ryan playing young Josh), where his ability to astral-project while sleeping attracts the unwanted attention of a creature(s) that will haunt him for many years to come.
The budget for Insidious: Chapter 2 is noticeably larger than its predecessor (which cost a 'mere' $1.5 million), judging by the sheer number of pale-faced ghouls in shawls, jabbering old man-demons, and the assortment of children's toys used for unsettling effect - a recurring motif in Wan's horror filmography - that've shown up in the trailers. The supernatural realm appears to be more fully-realized in the sequel, in part as a response to frequent complaints about Insidious (i.e. that its low-budget resulted in the other-worldly setting for the third act resembling a small-town amusement park attraction).
James Wan and Insidious writer Leigh Whannell's script for the sequel picks up shortly after the first movie's ominous conclusion, as a (seemingly...) normal Josh moves his family - wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and three children, which includes his astral-projecting son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) - to his mother Lorraine's (Barbara Hershey) house, until they can find a new permanent home. The ghosts that have been looming around Josh his entire life aren't so easily deterred, and soon freaky events start to happen around the Lambert household once again - forcing the family to confront the full truth about Josh's terrible childhood secret (which means another trip to the spiritual world known as The Further).
Whereas Insidious was, thematically-speaking, essentially a haunted house film in the vein of Poltergeist, Wan has described Chapter 2 as more of a domestic thriller along the lines of The Shining. You can already see the difference, based on the trailers for the Insidious sequel: the first movie focused on astral-projection (and the monsters it attracts) as a metaphor for child illness, whereas the followup seems intent to open as many doors (read: fears) in your unconscious mind as possible. Question is, will the new approach let Wan beat himself at his own game this year, by delivering a film that's even spookier than The Conjuring?
Be sure and let us know what you feelings are towards Insidious: Chapter 2 so far, based on the trailers and early details about the film released to date.
Insidious: Chapter 2 opens in U.S. theaters on September 13th, 2013.