In the first film, it was established that part of what made young Dalton such an easy target was that his father had a similar experience with the same spirit as a boy. Opening in the first film’s tragic aftermath, Insidious Chapter 2 jumps back to that story.
Younger Elise is helping Lorraine save her young son Josh from a frightening spiritual attack. Here we are introduced to an associate of Elise’s named Carl. When the film picks back up in the present, Carl comes in to try and help the family finish what was started in the first film and save Josh.
The film gives us more background into the old woman (who turns out to not be a woman, but a serial killer who killed at the behest of his mother). The ghosts and spirits are as visually striking as in the first film. The same year he released this film, he released the Conjuring. Wan really knows what he is doing with his modernized ghost stories. I really enjoy his sense of style and his commitment to the realities of his haunted cinematic worlds. And again, the sound design is every bit as powerful in Chapter 2 as it was in the first film.
Chapter 2 flows pretty organically from the original film, avoiding a feel of being a tacked on sequel. Wan is a solidly dependable horror creator, giving real life to a genre of horror that was somewhat stale.