Insidious Chapter 2 (as experienced at the AMC Loews on 34th Street)

21 Sep

AMC Loew

It appears to have been almost a month since I last posted anything on here, which is a little tardy of me, I know, but it’s been a very busy month. As well as gearing up for the release of my new novel (out now, people), last weekend I went to New York. I don’t mean to say that in a casual and slightly wanky way, as if I “pop over” to New York all the time. This trip was months in the planning, was the highlight of the year so far, and the Boyf and I had been looking forward to it for months.

As you may be able to tell.

As you may be able to tell.

We did all the usual sightseeing stuff, like taking couples’ selfies atop the Empire State Building (see above), and getting a free drive-by of the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry, but on the Friday night we did something we could just as easily have done back home in Cardiff. We went to watch Insidious Chapter 2. 

"Shh... No-one tell them it had exactly the same release date at Cardiff Cineworld."

“Shh… No-one tell them it had exactly the same release date at Cardiff Cineworld.”

For the uninitiated, this is the sequel to James “Saw” Wan’s effective, low-budget horror movie from 2010. The original film featured some surprisingly ghost-train-like ghouls and ghosties, lots of 1980s-ish, Elm Street style dry ice, and the most terrifying use of Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through the Tulips you are ever likely to experience. It was sillier than a bucket of frogs, but genuinely frightening in a primal, stuff-of-nightmares kind of way, and a whole lot of fun.

Prior to watching Insidious Chapter 2 in New York, I’d been led to believe that some US audiences are more vocal and reactive than us Brits, so it made perfect sense to watch a horror movie with a crowd of locals. And by God… they didn’t disappoint.

Here in Britain, if your ticket says the movie stars at 6:30pm, it means the adverts start at 6:30, trailers will begin around 6:45, and the movie itself will start at 7pm. We entered the auditorium at 6:30, and found the place already packed. The audience, predominantly African American and Latino, had been sitting there for half an hour or more by the time we arrived, and had been watching commercials for some time.

Still... At least I now know it's pronounced Verizon-rhymes-with-horizon, not Verizon-rhymes-with-venison.

Still… At least I now know it’s pronounced Verizon-rhymes-with-horizon, not Verizon-rhymes-with-venison.

Taking seats in the first 5 rows, and having to tilt our heads right back to see the screen (more a trapezoid, from our vantage point, than a rectangle), we settled down. When some audience members cheered the trailer for the next Hunger Games movie, it became clear we were in for an amazing experience.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m usually the first person to get pissed off when my fellow audience members talk through a movie. But, you see, that’s because when British people talk through a film, they’re not reacting to the film, or talking back to the characters. They’re continuing whatever conversation they were having before the movie began, or talking about where they’ll go afterwards, and this isn’t restricted to teenagers. Go see any “art house” movie, and you’ll invariably find yourself sat in front of some 40-something couple who feel the need to mutter about their dinner reservation throughout the first act.

What I loved about the audience at the AMC Loews was their ability to shut the hell up during important dialogue, but to scream, laugh, whoop and cheer at exactly the right time. And Insidious Chapter 2 is exactly the kind of film to which an audience should scream, laugh, whoop and cheer. Like its predecessor, it’s daft, over-the-top, downright laughable in places, and surprisingly scary. It’s also a lot cleverer than any hastily-churned-out sequel has any right to be, casting new light on events from the first film in a way that borders on the ingenious.

It also somehow manages to make that Scary Old Woman character from the first movie even scarier. Brrrr.

It also somehow manages to make that Scary Old Woman character from the first movie even scarier. Brrrr.

Like the first movie, the last act is a bit of a mess, but I honestly didn’t care, because the New York audience made that film for me. I had a blast from beginning to end, and am now determined never to watch another horror movie with an audience that’s anything less than 80% African American ever again. (I’ve watched horror movies with a predominantly white audience in the Midwest, and it was not the same).

I came out of that cinema angry at how po-faced and unresponsive British audiences can be with the very movies that deserve – no, demand – a little audience participation. Next time I have to sit through a 90 minute slasher movie, I’ll be yelling “Oh no she di’n’t” in a way that’s neither dignified nor politically correct, and encouraging others to do likewise. Trust me… It adds a whole other dimension to the movie experience.


One Response to “Insidious Chapter 2 (as experienced at the AMC Loews on 34th Street)”

  1. laura September 21, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Ace. I hope I get to go to NYC some time and have a similar experience!

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