Movie Review: Insidious Chapter 2 – Was This Supposed to be Hilarious?

insidious 2Movies like these make me wonder why anyone buys Victorian style houses. I mean, from everything I’ve seen, anything listed as “Victorian style” guarantees someone is getting murdered. Psycho, The Haunting, The Amityville Horror, all these people could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they’d just rented a nice condo instead.

In Insidious Chapter 2, Josh and Renai Lambert, played by stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, are apparently trying to decide if Josh is really being possessed by an angry old woman, or if he’s just super in-touch with his grumpy old lady feminine side. The movie goes though a few confusing bounces between time periods, flashing back to Josh as a boy, and forward to him as a possessed adult.

The film starts out in 1986, where the friendly neighborhood medium Elise (Lindsay Seim) is called to find out what might be haunting young Josh. After multiple warnings from Josh, Elise wanders into a closet and gets scratched on the arm. Presumably, due to an immense fear of tetanus, Elise then makes young Josh (Garrett Ryan)  forget about his astral projection abilities.

Because that kind of stuff always turns out well.

Anyway, flash forward 25 years and we find Renai getting questioned about the death of Elise. As her husband might be a killer and is behaving oddly, they all decide that the best course of action is to move back to Josh’s childhood home, where all the problems started in the first place.

Hey, if it wasn’t for idiots, horror movies would never get made.

What follows is a bunch of close encounters with scary ghosts which would have had most normal people checking into a Holiday Inn. Elise returns as the friendly ghost and through dice, tells them all to head on over to Our Lady of Angels. Lorraine (Barbara Hershey)  tells a story about Parker Crane, a cross dressing serial killer who killed himself by jumping off the roof of the hospital. [more…]

They decide to continue their haunted house tour on to Parkers house, where they learn the story of “The Dark Bride” AKA “The Guy With the Worst Serial Killer Name Ever”. There’s also this moment that is supposed to be some kind of “AHA!” moment, where they learn that it hasn’t been Elise communicating with them from the other side. It was Parker’s mother.


Insidious 2 trailer  (Screengrab)

Because when the story is dragging on with no resolution, you might as well toss a few more characters in there that no one cares about.  They all go home to be attacked by the possessed Josh, who has his own ‘here’s Johnny’ moment as he hammers his way through some drywall using a fire extinguisher.

Anyway, this complicated mess of a movie was more confusing than scary. The scares are completely predictable, with the frequently overused ‘dead quiet, followed by something jumping out’, being done to death. There’s a funny, but not supposed to be, moment where the scary mother yells at little serial killer Parker, who wasn’t being girly enough for her liking. In addition, there is allegedly a scary part with noises coming over a baby monitor. At which point, I actually thought “Oh no! Someone is using a radio too close to the baby monitor”. “Ghost activity’ was pretty far down on my list of possibilities.

As far as this movie goes, Insidious Chapter 2, was anything but insidious. Innocuous, yes. Incomprehensible? Absolutely. But as for insidious enough to compare to its predecessor, Insidious Chapter 2 just fell flat.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Family (2013)

the-family-movieThe Family That You Don’t Invite to the Block Party

I’ll admit, when I first heard that DeNiro was going to be starring in yet another mobster flick, I immediately said “how many times is it necessary to remake Goodfellas?” But The Family surprised me. It combined a mix of dark comedy and just the right amount of explosions to keep me hooked.

This time around, DeNiro plays Giovanni Manzoni, patriarch of the Manzoni clan and badly behaving witness protection member. Giovanni ratted out his mob buddies in the United States and as a result, is walking around with a pretty hefty bounty on his head, hence the whole need for witness protection. Unfortunately for the witness protection bureau, the Mazoni’s are completely batsh-t crazy and wouldn’t know the meaning of ‘low profile’ if slapped them in the face. Thanks to the fact that they are unable to maintain their cover, due to Giovanni’s thirst for violence and his wife Maggie’s (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) real bad habit of blowing things up, they get sent to the French countryside where they are expected to blend.

And of course, wackiness and violence ensue. Legs get broken, bullets fly and the F word gets a lot of use.

Robert DeNiro The Family 2013 Movie Still

Robert DeNiro The Family 2013 Movie Still 3

Robert DeNiro The Family 2013 Movie Still 4

DeNiro shines in the roll of Giovanni Manzoni, but honestly, it’s DeNiro playing a mobster. How hard can it be? Michelle Pfeiffer also does justice to the quirky, crazy Maggie Manzoni. On top of that, you have their kids, Belle, played by Dianna Argon of Glee, and Warren (John D’Leo), who seem to have picked up some bad habits from their parents. Warren takes over the black market cigarette business on the first day of school, and seemingly sweet Belle beats the hell out of one of her classmates with a tennis racket.

There are quite a few clever tongue in cheek moments, with more than one nod to DeNiro’s history of playing mobsters. There’s even a chuckle worthy scene where Giovanni starts a debate during a screening of Goodfellas

The only disappointment in the acting comes from Tommy Lee Jones, who plays Agent Stansfield, Manzoni’s witness protection handler. Jones plays yet another straight laced, long suffering agent dealing with his charge’s shenanigans. It’s a common roll for Jones. Unfortunately, unlike DeNiro, who seems to have embraced his type cast, Jones just comes off as a little bit bored for the entire film.

The genre is a bit confusing as well. At one minute, you think you’re watching a violent action flick. At others, you feel like you’re watching a screwball comedy. Weirdly, for the storyline, it actually works. Much of this can be credited towards the Director, Luc Besson, who seems to have a pretty good handle on over the top, quirky action movies. Previous credits for Besson include La Femme Nikita, The Transporter and The 5th Element.

All in all, The Family is a good, fun movie with a fair amount of violence and gore. There are a couple of parts that don’t really fit, like Belle’s romance with her tutor, Giovanni’s attempt at writing and Jones’ lackluster performance, but overall, it’s worth the trip to see The Family.

Watch The Trailer Below and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points!