Insidious Chapter 2 (15/PG-13, 105 mins)
Director: James Wan
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
The first Insidious a couple of years ago wasn’t the most sophisticated piece of horror cinema ever made, but it was a relentless scare machine. This sequel deepens the mythology with an awful lot of backstory, but dilutes the scares, beginning with the teenage version of Patrick Wilson’s Josh back in 1986 when his family first encountered the evil forces that still haunt them. We then pick up immediately after the events of the first film, with Lin Shaye’s medium murdered and Rose Byrne wondering whether she can trust her husband or if he’s possessed. Slow and creepy is the order of the day, and director James Wan’s skill with the frame and woozy angles still generates a handful of chilling moments, though not as many as you might think amidst a surfeit of spooky toys. This second chapter is clumsily structured, which would be less bothersome if the scares were more forthcoming, and there’s a stretch in the middle spent wandering round an old hospital that’s really sort of dull. But it’s rescued by a clever final third in which past events are neatly integrated, and there’s every indication it’s a series with the potential to run and run.