The movie may have had one of the strangest and nonsensical ad campaigns ever (Insidious is Insidious?), but it was thankfully the word of mouth that pulled me in. Written and directed by the guys who brought us the first Saw film and produced by the guy who brought us Paranormal Activity, Insidious tells us the story of the Lambert family. Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) have just moved into a new home with their children. But after Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into something reminiscent of a coma, very bizarre things start happening. Slowly but sure, along with the help of Josh's mother, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), and a paranormal team including Elise (Lin Shaye), Specs (Leigh Whannell), and Tucker (Angus Sampson), they find out what's going on and exactly what they need to do to fix it.

Despite an awfully slow beginning, the movie delivers its fair share of scares. I mean, this is one freaky little movie. Sure, there's some jump scares, but there's also that fear embedded in you like "what if there's something watching me in that dark corner of the room while I'm in bed?" And these aren't just night scares. Oh no. It's in the daytime, too. Don't take that PG-13 rating for granted. This is no teeny-bopper horror. This is a well-made scary movie. It even manages to use "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" in not one, but two creepy scenes.

I think the story is the coolest part, though. It's pretty original, or at least not done incredibly often. It follows a haunted house formula, but--as the trailers spoil--it's not a haunted house, but a haunted person (I hate that the trailer gave that away. That would have been a great mid-movie twist). Fortunately, the trailer didn't give away the why. I won't spoil it either, but the reasoning behind what's going on is quite original, at least to me, and I really liked the ideas this movie brought to the table. Also showing some originality, there's a fun part that turns cliches on their head. You know how there's that scene in every haunted house movie where someone begs to move and get away and never come back, but they just end up staying and riding it out? This movie plays with that cliche and almost laughs in its face.

The acting is decent. The movie gets really fun acting-wise about halfway through once Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, and Angus Sampson join the show. Whannell and Sampson give us our comic relief of the film, and they do a pretty good job at it. Shaye basically plays the Zelda Rubinstein character, but she does it very well. And yes, there are some Poltergeist parallels by the time we reach the third act. Sadly, in comparison to these later characters/actors, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne mainly come off as dull. Byrne is the scared, crying wife/mother and Wilson is the aloof, sometimes macho husband/father. There are two other kids, but besides the baby that never stops crying, there's nothing really of note to mention of them. In fact, they're pretty much nonexistent in the second half of the film.

If you like ghost/haunting stories, definitely check this one out. It's scary/freaky and well made. Director James Wan makes some interesting and fun camera choices, and there are a lot of lighting tricks he uses to keep us on our toes, waiting and holding our breath that something doesn't pop out of nowhere. Also, because he's James Wan, you know he's gonna attempt some kind of twist, but you can see it coming a mile away. Honestly, don't go into this movie for any kind of twist. Go to it because the story is pretty original and it's pretty dang scary (mixed in with a few laughs).

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Try not to sit near any annoying women who have to commentate on every little thing throughout the entire movie like "This is the part where they dim the lights and the previews start... see?," "Oh, that's a really nice house," "Oh, that's a nice couch... I want that couch (which is being sat on by dead people during a scary scene)," "Oh! They just said that the boy gets up and walks around at night, but remember... he's in a coma!" Etc.)

1 comment:

  1. The first house is better than the second house. Also, interior decoration criticism as part of film criticism happens to me once a month. I just internalize my observations...half the time.


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