The new terrifying horror thriller “Insidious: Chapter 2” features a multi-generational family dealing with ghosts—from grandmother and parents all the way down to young children and a baby.
Directed by James Wan (“The Conjuring”) and written by Leigh Whannell (“Saw”), the sequel to the 2011 blockbuster “Insidious” reteams the original cast to play the family, including Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne (“X-Men: First Class”), Barbara Hershey (“Black Swan”), Lin Shaye (“There's Something About Mary”) and Ty Simpkins (the child actor in “Iron Man 3”).
The father of the family is Josh Lambert, played once again by Patrick Wilson, who marks his third collaboration with Wan. In addition to “Insidious,” Wilson also starred in Wan’s recently released box-office hit “The Conjuring.”
The Josh Lambert of “Chapter 2” is hardly the same person he was in “Insidious,” however, according to Wilson. “He’s literally vacant because he’s possessed. We know that he’s possessed, but will his wife, Renai, find out? It’s structured like a murder mystery with this husband and wife not getting along and her trying to figure out why that is. She wants to believe her husband, but he’s acting bizarrely.”
Australian native Rose Byrne reprises her role as Josh’s wife, Renai. At the start of “Chapter 2,” her character is still shaken by the events that transpired in the first film and is spiraling into depression.
“It’s literally a day later and she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” Byrne explains. “She’s thrown into action and, because of the events around her, that takes all her energy—she’s just trying to keep it together.”
The filmmakers brought back Academy Award®-nominee Barbara Hershey to portray Josh’s mother and the Lambert family matriarch, Lorraine Lambert. The actress notes it’s the first time in her distinguished career that she has been cast in a sequel to one of her own films (the same is also true for Wilson and Byrne).
“Coming back is definitely easy because we all know each other and are relaxed with each other now,” says Hershey. “I really think having good actors and a good script allows audience members to get more involved with and identify with the characters.”
The return of character actress Lin Shaye in the role of hypnotist and supernatural expert Elise Rainier may come as a surprise to “Insidious” fans, given that her character was mysteriously killed at the end of the original.
“During the first movie, James [Wan] was going back and forth about having me killed at the end because he wanted me back if there was a sequel,” Shaye recalls. “And then he remembered that because we were making a ghost movie, of course there was a place for me to come back.”
For the role of the Lambert’s eldest son, Dalton—who was the main subject of “Insidious”—the filmmakers brought back Ty Simpkins. As often happens with young actors, there was some concern about how much Simpkins and the actor playing his younger brother, Andrew Astor (“The Hangover”), would have grown since completing “Insidious.”
“The fact that the story picks up directly from the first one was difficult,” Wan confesses. “Luckily, at their young ages, they still hadn’t changed too much.”
Wilson concurs, joking, “We added a couple of inches to their pajamas and they were good to go!”
For Simpkins, returning to the role after three years was made easier by the genuine emotions evoked on set.
“I basically play myself, but with a little twist,” says Simpkins. “Even when we’re not filming and the ghosts are around, I start getting scared. But when they say ‘action,’ that’s when I get really scared. So it’s kind of easy for me to get into character.”
Opening across the Philippines on September 18, “Insidious: Chapter 2” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.