Where there’s a great film, a less impressive second chapter is sure to follow.
Well, it’s important to give credit where credit is due, so on that note, there are some things here that work.
- The Soundtrack
- The Jumpscares
But - it takes more than creepy music and ghosts in “unexpected” corners to make a great horror film. All in all, the meandering plot lines, and past/present plot structure really worked against this flick. Worse was the out of place “ghost-hunters” segment with Specs, Tucker, and Lorraine. Otherwise, the film had a pretty good atmosphere, but this really broke up both the narrative structure and the aesthetics. It felt like an ill-placed attempt to cash in on the current found-footage/ghost-hunters fads, when it really didn’t need to. In fact, part of what made the first film such a success was that it wasn’t doing what all the other ghost movies were doing - it was just focused on delivering genuine chills by letting the audience get swept up in story itself rather than in the vague idea that this could all be “real”. Suddenly, we’re taken out of the moment because the cinematographic approach is so different in these scenes.
Again, I felt jarred by the atmospheric change in the Spirit world. The plot lines became messy and uninviting in focusing on the two worlds simultaneously and I am inclined to believe that I would have preferred to see it all from Renai’s terrified and confused perspective.
In short, the story itself was great but the decisions on how to deliver it felt forceful and over-explained.
Everything taking place inside of the story’s present was very well done and exactly what I expect of Wan. These scenes had me on edge waiting anxiously for what would appear behind a door next. I liked the sense of chaos created by following Renai as she rushed about trying to keep calm for the boys. She definitely should have been more guarded against Josh trying to make sense of her actions was half the fun.
Unfortunately, it seems there will be a third. Sequels are already so touch and go, it baffles me that producers still always insist on going for a third, but no matter how bad the reviews are of sequels, when it comes down to it, most still buy tickets to see it in the first place (even if reluctantly). If there is money to be made in a third, expect a third. Word is however it will no longer focus on the Lamberts, or even follow up on the final scene of Chapter 2. Apparently it will follow Specs and Tucker though, so we might be in for some more wonderfully forced out-of-place humor. I think I’ll go ahead and sit this one out.