Continuing right after the supernatural events of the first "Insidious" chapter, the troubled Lambert family seeks to discover the mysterious childhood secret that has kept them malevolently connected to a shadowy netherworld.

Having just rescued their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) from the fiendish forces of the spirit realm, mom Renai (Rose Byrne) and dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) are left to deal with Elise (Lin Shaye), the now-strangled family friend/medium who helped get him back, and her goofy, paranormal investigating cohorts: Carl (Steve Coulter), Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs) Leigh Whannel). Plus there are bizarrely unwelcome occurrences, like a piano playing itself, the baby's toys tossing themselves around and Dalton's tin-can-telephone conversations with something in the closet.It seems that both Dalton and Josh have the ability to "astral project," transporting them into a place between life and death, populated by ghouls looking for a healthy body to occupy. As if flaunting Josh's deranged advice to just "ignore" the ghostly doings, a shrieking apparition shows up and punches Renai in the face. "Is something wrong with Daddy?" Dalton inquires. You think?

In an expanded role, Josh's long-suffering mother, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), helps them track down an old man (Tom Fitzpatrick) who knows more about the dimension called "the Further" and the demonic creature that has taken possession of Josh's body.

Utilizing every cheesy cliche in the ghost-buster genre, screenwriter Lee Wannell and director James Wan ("The Conjuring," "Saw") manage to have every door creak ominously, punctuated with cheap, freaked-out "boo!" scares. Wilson should have quit while he was ahead in "The Conjuring," instead of channeling Jack Nicholson in "The Shining," and Byrne seemed to survive innumerable threats on her life in TV's "Damages." But they and the rest of the cast will inevitably return for the third chapter in this profitably low-budget franchise; indeed, it's already in the planning stages.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Insidious: Chapter 2" is a tedious, repetitive 3, concluding with yet another creepy cliffhanger.

More Information

Fact box