Insidious Chapter 2 - James Wan
Insidious Chapter 2 - James Wan returns to direct ©2013 FilmDistrict

After the success of his supernatural thriller The Conjuring this summer, director James Wan’s sequel to his popular horror movie Insidious opens on Friday the 13th, 2013.

Insidious: Chapter 2 carries on the story of the haunted Lambert family, who are struggling to uncover a terrifying secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.

James Wan spoke of the sequel, and horror movies in general, at the press day for the movie.

What were your thoughts about making a sequel?

Insidious Chapter 2 - Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins and Rose Byrne
Insidious Chapter 2 – The Lambert family, played by Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins and Rose Byrne, return ©2013 FilmDistrict

I never make any movie thinking I’ll go on to make a sequel, because that’s too presumptuous.

For me, I’m very superstitious, I don’t want to think about number two when one hasn’t even come out. But when the first one came out and it did really well, there was this appetite for a potential future installment which continued the story.

We batted around a few ideas and we kept coming back to the idea that where we left off at the end of the first one just seemed like a natural, organic way for the storyline to continue. It is a direct continuation of the first movie and it basically wraps up that family’s storyline.

How hard was it to bring back the whole cast?

Insidious Chapter 2 - Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye and Angus Sampson
Insidious Chapter 2 – Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye and Angus Sampson ©2013 FilmDistrict

Leigh (Whannell, the screenwriter) and I talked about what if we continue the family from the first movie, but the only way this would work would be if we could get everyone to come back.

That took a lot of wrangling in terms of people’s scheduling, everyone is off doing their own thing and so that was really hard, [but we] pulled it together.

Can you talk about how you frame your narrative, the long takes where you build the tension?

Insidious Chapter 2 - Danielle Bisutti
Insidious Chapter 2 – Michelle (Danielle Bisutti) ©2013 FilmDistrict

I’m a huge Hitchcock fan. To me I think that’s what makes it fun, building the suspense. I love film crafting. I think there’s a lot of art to crafting these movies, whether that’s from a technical standpoint, or the storytelling standpoint.

I find that these movies, the Insidious films, The Conjuring as well, even the first Saw allowed me to play with that. People ask me, ‘What is it about the horror genre that you love?’

Besides being a fan of the genre, I feel that the genre allows me to do a lot as a director. It allows me a lot of things to play with.

How would you describe Chapter 2?

Insidious Chapter 2 - Patrick Wilson
Insidious Chapter 2 – Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) ©2013 FilmDistrict

I would describe it as a domestic thriller with a supernatural edge to it.

The ghouls are coming back, but this film isn’t about that as much.

I feel like I’ve already established the characters, so now I can get into them without being too gimmicky, while still keeping those elements that people love.

The first one was a lot more straightforward, which is great for a first movie, but in a sequel you want to expand on the mythology.

You want to show people more of the world you’ve created, and that’s what we did with Chapter 2.

Why do you feel horror movies have such worldwide appeal?

Insidious Chapter 2 - Director James Wan
Insidious Chapter 2 – Director James Wan on the set ©2013 FilmDistrict

When you deal with themes of the supernatural, I think it’s universal.

Different cultures have different ways of exploring these themes, but I think they pretty much come from the same place.

That’s why I think these kinds of movies play really well internationally; people all around the world get them.

Want to know what James Wan feels are the key components of a good horror movie? Click here to find out.

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.