NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 13, 2013

'Insidious' sequel shuns scares for laughs

(Continued)

Then the joking begins. In white shirts and black ties, the ghost hunters have everything but the sunglasses and sports coats of the “Men in Black.” They’re credulous when all around them are incredulous.

That’s the sly comfort in this “feel-good” horror franchise. Out there, in the Yellow Pages, there are “experts” who can help you deal with the supernatural. And even after death, a good ghost hunter is still on the clock.

The techno-props — ranging from baby monitors (been there, heard that) to old found video, to tin-can telephones — convey the ghostly voices from beyond. The Ouija board substitute here is a Boggle bag of letter dice that pass on messages from the dead.

The beastly things we see are nothing you wouldn’t recognize from “Mommie Dearest.”

And everybody keeps a straight face.

“Chapter 2” isn’t as clever as the screenwriters seem to think, and the movie isn’t remotely as scary as the film it is following. But that’s not to say that it isn’t entertaining, on some level, even if you can tell the “name” actors are waiting for the checks to clear, ready to hand off this “franchise” to lesser lights, and the sooner the better.

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