A good horror film works in the same way as a pressure release valve. The pressure builds until the valve opens and steam is vented in a high pressure jet. The valve closes and the pressure starts to build again. The problem with Insidious Chapter 2 (IC2) is that it cranks the valve open and closed so quickly and so often that: 1) the pressure doesn't build and 2) in the end the valve breaks. This is what happens when you rely on jump scares rather than a nice steady increase of tension and fear. That's not to say that IC2 only uses this technique, but it is used so often that you end up inured to it, and as they say, familiarity breeds contempt.
The film starts with a spooky house shot at a Dutch angle. So far so predictable. Unfortunately this predictability leads to clichés and they start to come thick and fast.
A chandelier moving slightly for no reason; wardrobe doors suddenly opening; spooky radio voices; spooky children's drawings; slow tracking shots down hallways; overly loud clocks; creaky doors; pianos that play themselves; radios that turn themselves on; toys that turn themselves on; spooky woman in white; a person crossing a corridor in the distance beyond the character in focus; spooky character in a mirror; a scary father straight out of The Amityville Horror; plenty of Dutch angles; a spooky nursery rhyme; doors that lock themselves; a spooky seance. All this and I've still an hour to go! Spooky deserted hospital; spooky doll; scary lady in black; scary old man; haunted elevator; spooky doll-house; spooky kids; haunted telephone (well, tin-can phone); spooky wardrobe; a chandelier that unscrews itself; banging; dry ice. There was so much spooky shit that I was waiting for a fucking clown to appear! It's like a tick list for horror idiots.
The dialogue is atrocious and lines that should be sinister come off as plain silly. Here's a couple of my favourites: a medium during a seance "I suppose I should have explained this isn't an exact science". A little later he also says "No! Do not break the circle!". Quality stuff. The soundtrack is just as bad and abuses the intelligence and emotional empathy of the audience by constantly shouting "Be scared... now!". Speaking of insulting the audience's intelligence; at one point a character, seeing a door mysteriously open says "So that's what that was about", referring to the same door mysteriously opening 30 minutes earlier in the film. Look Wan, we're not all morons with the memory of a goldfish!
The performances are fine apart from the evil witch, the thing under your bed, the big bad. Well you know Creedence Leonore Gielgud from Troll 2? It seems that James Wan managed to track her down and give her this pivotal role; just awful. Then there's the two paranormal investigators that are ripped straight from a Seth Rogen film. The "humour" they provide is completely misplaced and does nothing except kill what little tension there is.
Hopefully I don't come over as pompous here but IC2 is a horror film for people that don't like horror films or have never seen a proper horror film. There is nothing in it that is even remotely scary and the film relies on overused jump-scares to shock rather than engender a feeling of dread and, dare I say, horror.
Insidious Chapter 2 is lazy, cynical and cliché ridden with a distinct lack of subtlety. It's full of supposition, irrationality, giant leaps of logic and contrivance. It is a giant ball-bag of shite.
At least Barbara Hershey was in it, but if you want to see a truly scary film staring Ms. Hershey try Outer Space; an amazing horror short re-edited from footage from the 1982 film The Entity.