The film was released September 13, 2013. A prequel film, Insidious: Chapter 3, was released on June 5, 2015.
In 1986, Carl calls demonologist Elise Ranier to help discover what is haunting Lorraine Lambert's son, Josh. After hypnotizing Josh, Elise attempts to find the location of Josh's "friend", an old woman who appears in photographs of him. Lorraine, Carl and Elise agree that making Josh forget his astral projection abilities is the best thing to do.
Twenty-five years later, Josh's wife Renai is under questioning by a detective about the death of Elise as seen in the first film. He asks her about the person in the photograph taken by Elise moments before she died, and warns Renai that if Josh's fingerprints match the fingerprints found at the scene, he will be in trouble.
Josh and Renai, along with their kids, relocate to Lorraine's house as the police investigate Elise's death. One night, Renai follows the sounds of a piano, only to find a music box. Her infant daughter, Cali, begins to cry and Renai finds her outside of her crib.
Specs and Tucker visit Elise's house and discover the "Lambert, Josh 1986" videotape. Upon reviewing it, they find someone standing behind Josh in the video. The next morning, Dalton tells Renai that he has been having bad dreams again, involving a woman in a white dress; as well as hearing Josh talk to an unseen figure in the hallway. Renai receives a call from the police stating that the fingerprints do not match Josh. The woman in the white dress appears and Renai is knocked unconscious. Josh finds her and hears a voice urging him to kill his family.
Lorraine visits Specs and Tucker for an explanation and they show her the tape, enhanced to show adult Josh as the figure standing behind Josh. They contact Carl, who attempts to contact Elise using word-dice. They are told to find answers at the now abandoned "Our Lady of the Angels" hospital, where Lorraine used to work as doctor. The group visits the now abandoned hospital. Lorraine recounts the story of a patient named Parker Crane who was admitted for trying to castrate himself. In a flashback, young Josh visits Parker along with Lorraine, and is attacked by him. Two days later, Lorraine meets Parker in an elevator and apologizes for Josh but Parker doesn't respond. Lorraine asks a nurse why Parker is out of his bed. Confused, the nurse explains that Parker Crane jumped to his death the day before.
Lorraine and the group go to Parker's home where it is revealed that it was not Elise speaking through the dice, but Parker's mother. They find a secret room with 15 corpses in it, a black wedding gown and newspaper clippings about a killer referred to as "The Bride in Black," who kidnapped and murdered several people while dressed as a woman. Josh's body begins to slowly deteriorate and Renai realizes Josh is possessed. Lorraine insists that they all get away from Josh. Carl arrives to drug him, but deduces that he is possessed by Parker. Parker begins to choke Carl to death. Carl awakes in the spirit realm, where he meets the real Josh, and together they go into The Further to seek Elise. Josh travels to Cali's room, where an evil spirit is approaching his daughter. He struggles with the spirit but is overpowered. Elise banishes the spirit from the house. It is revealed that these actions are what triggered the mysterious event in the first film.
In the real world, Josh - possessed by Parker - ambushes Lorraine and Renai. Renai and the children escape to the basement. Dalton falls asleep and returns to The Further to rescue his father. In The Further, the real Josh, Carl, and Elise try to track Parker down by revisiting Josh in 1986. It is revealed that the adult Josh asked his younger self to find Parker. In Parker's house, the three witness Parker's mother, Michelle – the woman in the white dress – abusing him for acting like a male; Michelle wants him to be a girl named Marilyn. Parker had killed his female victims at the behest of his mother's spirit. Josh finds the room filled with standing bodies - assumed to be Parker's victims. Upon finding Michelle, the two engage in a fight. Elise saves Josh, which interrupts the possessed Josh's attempt to murder his family. Crane's ghost disappears. Carl and Josh escape, only to find Dalton, who leads them back to the living world. Josh and Dalton voluntarily get their memories of their astral projection abilities erased through a hypnosis session.
Some time later, Specs and Tucker proceed to a family's house whose daughter, Allison, is in an unexplained coma. Unbeknownst to them – but noticed by the youngest daughter of the family – Elise's spirit enters the home. She hears a crackling sound (the same sound that signals the Red Faced Demon's presence) and gasps as she sees something standing in the shadows.
After the financial success of Insidious In April 2011, discussions for a sequel soon followed. With producer Jason Blum insisting on the return of director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell, a treatment script did not arrive until nearly a year later. "As long as there was a chance that James and Leigh were gonna write the second movie and direct the second movie, I didn’t want to do it with someone else," said Blum. "They kept saying they might do it, they might not do it, which was why there’s quite a bit of time between the two movies." On February 2, 2012, it was announced that director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell were in talks to return for the sequel.
While promoting The Conjuring (2013) at New York Comic Con in October 2012, Wan described how he and Whannell were working closely on developing the story and the script for the follow up to Insidious, explaining to ShockTilYouDrop.com, "I think the sequel to Insidious is kind of my reaction to Saw where for my own reason I wasn't as involved in the sequels, and so I felt with Insidious, think it would be good to shepherd it and keep it more in track to the version I had when I made the first film so that it doesn't detour too far."
The film was titled Insidious: Chapter 2 because it is a direct continuation of the first installment. However, the tone of the film was to be more grounded than in the first film, with Wan citing his work on The Conjuring as an influence to how he and Whannell approached Insidious: Chapter 2. "I pulled things from Insidious that I applied to The Conjuring, and what I learned from The Conjuring I applied to Insidious 2," said Wan. "So for me, I feel like it's a cumulative filmmaking experience that I've gathered over the years."
On November 19, 2012, it was officially announced that Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Ty Simpkins would reprise their roles from the first film. The following month, it was announced that Barbara Hershey would also be returning. In February 2013, Jocelin Donahue and Lindsay Seim rounded out the cast as younger versions of Hershey and Shaye's characters, respectively. It was also confirmed that the film's screenwriter Leigh Whannell and actor Angus Sampson would reprise their roles as Specs and Tucker, respectively. When asked about the return of the two characters, Whannell explained, "There was this hatred that spewed out from fans saying 'I hated those guys! They sucked! They ruined the movie!' so there will probably be a lot of people out there who will be disappointed to hear that the Specs and Tucker characters will be coming back."
Principal photography for Insidious: Chapter 2 began on January 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. Having a slightly higher production budget than its predecessor, the film was captured over the course of 25 shooting days. A bulk of the film was shot at a house in Highland Park, Los Angeles, which served as the location of Lorraine Lambert's house. Another location used for filming was the former Linda Vista Community Hospital, which was redressed as a hospital setting and used for the construction of interior sets (including recreations of sets from the first film). "I’ve never shot in Linda Vista," said Wan about the location. "It's kind of funny because Leigh and I have always heard so much about it. For research on the first one [Leigh] came here to do a bit of ghost-hunting. And I think a lot of that inspired us when we needed a hospital set."
The musical score to Insidious: Chapter 2 is composed by Joseph Bishara, who previously collaborated with director James Wan on the first installment as well as The Conjuring. "Finding the right range and tone for the feeling is an important part," described Bishara on generating tension through sound. "James is very particular with sting placement along with Kirk, our editor on both Insidious films and Conjuring. Silence can create a listening space, where rather than give you something else to listen to it enables you to hear things."
A soundtrack album for the film was released digitally on September 15 and in physical forms on October 8, 2013 by Void Recordings. Additional songs featured in the film include:"Waiting For You" by Alan Ett
"Piano Sonata in B-flat Minor, Op. 35, 3rd movement" by Frédéric Chopin
Prior to being officially announced, Sony Pictures Entertainment registered various domain names on November 28, 2011, for Insidious: Chapter 2. On January 30, 2013, the first picture from the set of the film was released via writer Leigh Whannell's Twitter account. Additional behind-the-scenes photos from the set of the film were released the following month. In April 2013, the first promotional poster for the film went on display at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. The first theatrical trailer for the film was screened to a live audience on location at the Linda Vista Community Hospital on June 4, 2013, with an online release the following day. On August 10, 2013, it was announced at the convention Scare L.A by producer Jason Blum and Universal's creative director John Murdy, that a maze attraction entitled "Insidious: Into the Further" will be featured at the 2013 Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.
While originally intended to be released on August 30, 2013, Insidious: Chapter 2 was rescheduled for a September 20 release date. The film's release date was later moved again to September 13, 2013,.
On the night prior to its theatrical wide release, the film was shown in select theatres as part of a double feature with the first installment. A red carpet premiere for the film was held in Los Angeles on September 10, 2013.
Preliminary reports had the film tracking for a $32–$35 million debut in North America. The film earned $1.5 million from its Thursday night showings, and reached a $20 million Friday total, making it the biggest opening day in September box office history. It went on to be the number one film during its opening weekend, taking $41 million at the box office. The film grossed a worldwide total of $161,919,318 against a budget of $5 million.
Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes sampled 111 reviews and judged 39% of the reviews to be positive. The site's consensus reads: "Insidious: Chapter 2 is decidedly short on the tension and surprises that made its predecessor so chilling." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 40 out of 100 based on 30 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Robbie Collin of The Telegraph gave the film a positive review, stating that "the scares are mostly very scary indeed, and that means the film does its job." Scott Foundas of Variety praised the "artfully eerie" cinematography work of John R. Leonetti and the "pervasively unsettling atmosphere" constructed by sound designer and editor Joe Dzuban. Foundas further wrote that "where so many sequels seem like mere remakes of their predecessors, with bigger budgets and less imagination, Insidious: Chapter 2 feels like a genuine continuation of characters we enjoyed getting to know the first time around, and wouldn’t at all mind returning to again." Conversely, Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times commented, "After the pleasurable free fall into old-fashioned nightmare artistry that was last summer's The Conjuring, this busy-yet-dull sequel feels like Wan robotically flexing his manipulation of fright-film signposts, an exercise more silly than sinister." Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Setting aside the movie’s tediously lame dialogue, self-conscious performances and frequently predictable scares, the narrative’s compulsively shifting chronology intermittently manages to engage, although it does little to obscure the distracting shortcomings of both plot and character development."
The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 10, 2013.
On September 16, 2013, a third film in the series was announced with Leigh Whannell signed on to return as writer while Jason Blum and Oren Peli are also set to produce. When asked about returning for another sequel, actor Patrick Wilson went on to say that he "[doesn't] know where else it could go", and that "[Josh Lambert has] been through the wringer, and I think the movie sets it up well at the end [...] And that's great, that's how it should end." On March 11, 2014, it was reported that the third film wouldn't focus on the Lambert family, but would focus on a new family and story, that it wouldn't connect to the last teaser scene in the second film, and that Whannell and Sampson wouldn't return as ghost hunters Specs and Tucker. On May 7, 2014, Wan tweeted that Whannell would be directing the third film, which would mark his directorial debut. Stefanie Scott and Dermot Mulroney starred in the film. Focus Features and Stage 6 Films released the follow-up on June 5, 2015.