While the Further is an interesting concept and Darth Maul succeeds as a worthwhile villain, I was never bananas about the original.
James Wan has done enough to convince that churning out bilge just isn't his bag and if we feel like going under, he’s sure to bring us back.
Plot details and/or spoilers will come from another dimension.
Hoping that matters are scarier than Ghouls ‘n Ghosts include:
Patrick Wilson – Josh
Rose Byrne – Renai
Barbara Hershey – Lorraine
Lin Shaye – Elise
Angus Sampson – Tucker
Leigh Whannell – Specs
Steve Coulter - Carl
Lambert Residence 1986.
Those affected from the first are reunited for a business rather than pleasure visit to bring out the ghost in Josh.
The troubled is hypnotised and is compelled to play a game of Hot or Cold, rather than 'Hide and Clap'.
Honestly, what will they conjure up next?
After receiving cold, warm, hot and hotter clues from Josh via walkie talkie, Elise locates the source of his ‘friend’ in a wardrobe with the contents lashing out.
“It’s not a friend, it’s a parasite” informs Elise. Carl and Lorraine agree it’s best to help Josh forget all about astral projection.
The young guy rises and points to where ‘she’ is as a door creaks open...
Bye bye baby, bye bye Elise.
Some decades later, Josh’s wife Renai is being grilled by the fuzz over Elise’s departure and hubby’s innocence is thrown into doubt.
Now living at Lorraine’s house with children Dalton, Foster and Baby [insert here], is Josh free from phenomenon or as guilty as the man holding a smoking gun?
After lights out, Dalton and Foster chat through a tin can telephone and something else may well be listening in...
The next day, a baby walker moves of its own accord and after the clichéd thuds are heard, she follows and observes a woman in white making herself temporarily comfortable on the chaise longue.
I’m just relieved she’s not The Woman in Black as wow, that film was really shit.
Distracted by the young mite’s cries, the apparition appears screaming “Don’t you dare” before clouting her sparko.
Along with Carl, Lorraine meets ghost-busting duo Tucker and Specs. She explains her family’s ordeal and sometimes, you've got to roll the dice.
Carl successfully contacts Elise and the answer apparently lies within Lorraine’s former place of work, the local hospital.
They arrive at a now derelict ICU and flashback reveals the story of patient Parker Crane who became a eunuch before ending it all.
Now at Crane’s hovel, the smell of death is almost unbearable as the not so awesome foursome stumble upon a chest containing newspaper clippings about a serial killer known as the Bride in Black.
As a side note, Black Veil Brides are an American rock band.
The sheets hiding death should count fifteen so for once, the press aren't applying spin faster than a fairground ride.
After Carl connects with the mannequin wearing a veil and dark dress, the voice from beyond was Parker’s mother and not Elise.
You see, she’s the organ grinding puppeteer and Parker is the monkey.
Carl and co concoct a plan to sedate the already taken over by a cross-dressing serial killer but ultimately fail when the targeted becomes enraged.
Tucker incapacitates Josh with a shock and all is still.
This is in some kind of order and probably the wrong kind, but whatever, here goes.
Renai, Lorraine return with Dalton and Foster but Josh isn't in the mood to welcome them with loving arms.
After a feline and rodent chase, Josh proceeds to throttle Renai but never fear, Dalton is here and clobbers the aggressive with a bat.
Parker sings Dalton a lullaby through tin can communication and returns to the Further.
He gets knocked down, but he gets up again, you never gonna him down.
Renai’s recently built barricade in the basement will only hold for so long as a rampant Josh is testing its resistance with a fire extinguisher.
Good guy Josh wakes up with Carl in the Further and they track down Elise at Parker’s home.
We move nearer to crossing the chequered flag.
This next sequence signs, seals and delivers what we already knew.
The girl on the bed (which Tucker earlier encountered in reality) is scolded by the woman in white for painting her a picture. The ungrateful bitch reminds that his name is not Parker, as that was given by his father and ‘her’ name is Marilyn.
“Don’t you dare” is also met with another backhander.
With Carl and Elise locked out, Josh is shrouded in darkness and surrounded by the upright dead.
After sheet removal, the mother is uncovered who flies at him.
Elise saves Josh by attacking with a rocking chair and threat descends into the void from whence she came.
They are told to leave the Further as the world terraforms around them.
Courtesy of the makeshift dog and bone, Dalton does the necessary for Josh and Carl to get back to reality.
The once evil Josh awakes with Renai clearly relieved when he announces something like “I’m alright.”
With the screen turning a white shade of pale, Tucker and Specs arrive at another house with a young girl warning that they’re not alone.
Elise lets herself in and attempts to revive their spent daughter. The atmosphere turns sour as the exclamation of “Oh my God” ends the film.
Expectation is a bitch that can easily puncture a barrage balloon without blunting its pin.
The Pact remains one of the worst pieces of celluloid every conceived and perversely, this somehow competes to achieve the impossible.
Specs and Tucker again provide the humour but there is simply too much of it.
While on a rampage, the possessed Josh adds the filling to a cheese sandwich with a miserable re-enactment of The Shining and being chased by a hungover hedgehog is more terrifying.
Damn Kubrick’s film, Stephen King may have hated it but I really don’t see why.
The potential and scope for atmosphere to be less cheerful than an autopsy is unrealised, and I cannot help thinking that Elise appearing in the Further reminds of Poltergeist.
If there is a plus, the bridge from the first is impressively crossed with Wilson and Byrne making the best of their contrasting roles. The returning others seem to mock boredom with a forced scream and shiver.
Disappointment is sounded louder than a church bell as this is low on tension, short on ideas and attempts of any anxiety or 'boo' moments flop like a jelly.
“He’s got your baby” is far more effective in the trailer...
Wan threatens to end all involvement with horror and therefore leaves us standing on the precipice.
Whoever reboots and/or regurgitates déjà vu, I’d suggest the return of lipstick with a more sinister shade.