The film opens in 1986, and to start with, it felt like a prequel, but instead it was outlining the back-story of Josh Lambert's (Patrick Wilson) history with astral travelling and seeing what those alive should never have to see. The film quickly picks up where the first film takes off, although the sequel has much more of a horror / thriller feel than the ghost story of the original.
I spent almost the entire film with my jaw slack, amusing the friend I brought along (who sees a horror / thriller film alone?). The cinematography and direction was great, with tension building as the story progressed. You see the subtle changes as the living host was progressively possessed and consumed by the dead-but-not-yet-gone malignant forces of evil.
I appreciated the punctuation of humour into the storyline to break up the tension. One example of this is "hunter, ninja, bear" (played in place of "scissors, paper, rock") by two ghost hunters who are involved in unravelling the mysteries, in the hope of saving the Lamberts before the spirits destroy the family.
To give much more detail would be to turn this review into a spoiler, and I'm not that kind of person, although I will share that the film is directed by Jason Wan, whose other work includes Saw, Dead Silence and The Conjuring and the screenplay is written by Leigh Whannell (who also contributed to Saw) and together they continue to demonstrate their fine skills in filmmaking.