When it comes to presenting a chilly mood and delivering legitimate audience-jumping frights, James Wan is near the top of his game. After four viewings, 2011's haunted-house-cum-astral-projection sleeper horror hit "Insidious" not only still holds up, but has gotten better in a lot of ways, its third-act journey into an otherworldly plane between the living and the dead known as "The Further" expertly crafted and so stylistically interesting that it no longer feels like the pic's far-fetched sore spot. Wan followed that low-budget success up with an even bigger, more acclaimed effort, the 1970s-set supernatural thriller "The Conjuring." As handsomely mounted as this true-life portrait of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren was, in terms of pure jolting dread, "Insidious" felt more avant-garde and dangerous, willing to take the sort of chances that "The Conjuring" could not quite live up to. Less than two months later, Wan is back with the eagerly awaited "Insidious: Chapter 2," and his string of good fortune may be about to run out. Financially, it is sure to do gangbusters, but Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell should not expect the same fanfare they received the first time around.
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