The haunted-house genre has proved fruitful for Australian filmmaker
In a review for The Times, Robert Abele wrote that Wan and co-writer Leigh Whannell "confidently line up their ducks in a row for more of the same half-shocks, fraught wanderings, horror-repurposed items ... and garish PG-13 apparitions. But after the pleasurable free fall into old-fashioned nightmare artistry that was last summer's 'The Conjuring,' this busy-yet-dull sequel feels like Wan robotically flexing his manipulation of fright-film signposts, an exercise more silly than sinister."
USA Today's Claudia Puig also found the film lazy. She wrote, "'Insidious: Chapter 2' appears to be the sum of the unusable parts from James Wan's recent haunted house feature 'The Conjuring.' Yes, of course it's the sequel to 2010's 'Insidious,' but it seems cobbled together from outtakes. ... [T]here's nothing remotely subtle or sly about this lazy movie."
Justin Lowe of the
The San Francisco Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub said, "'Insidious 2' has a few memorable frights, a willing cast and a professional crew behind the camera. But even as it succeeds in the moment, it's hard to get around the fact that the sequel is entirely unnecessary. We'd rather see Wan and his co-conspirators put out something new." That said, one can "at least credit Wan for making quality control a priority."
Not every review has been critical, however. Variety's Scott Foundas, for example, called "Chapter 2" a "modestly scaled and highly pleasurable sequel." He adds, "Wan and Whannell once again spin a ripping good ghost story here. ... They're terrific pastiche artists, freely raiding our collective storehouse of horror-movie memories and arranging them in fresh, unexpected ways. ... [W]here so many sequels seem like mere remakes of their predecessors, with bigger budgets and less imagination, 'Insidious" Chapter 2' feels like a genuine continuation of characters we enjoyed getting to know the first time around, and wouldn't at all mind returning to again."
If audiences agree, we might yet see a "Chapter 3."