Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Film Review: Indisidous (2010)

Insidious (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"This combination of horror creates a versatile ride of terror."

Upon moving into a new home, a family is terrorized by ghastly apparitions...

Insidious follows this family, which consists of: Josh (Patrick Wilson), the “busy” father, Renai (Rose Byrne), the stay-at-home mom working on her music, their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), and two other children that are quickly swept under the rug. Anyway, Dalton enters the attic where he ends up falling, then sees a figure in the shadows. The next morning, he does not wake up. The doctors cannot explain his coma. Three months later, Dalton is back home and the paranormal events continue — increasing with power with each encounter. I won't spoil much, but eventually the film leads to a more unconventional third act concerning “The Further” — a realm occupied by restless souls. I actually enjoyed this final act and the ending.

Insidious is a great film. It begins as a straightforward haunted house film, but becomes more towards the end. Of course, “The Further” may be polarizing for some of the audience due to the shift in mood. I think it's still frightening and creepy, but it becomes less grounded in reality. Personally, I think it does become less effective, but it also help differentiate the film and it kept the film on its feet. The other issues, which is somewhat minor in this type of film, is the lack of focused characters. Sure, we get to know this trio fairly well — nothing too deep, but we get some background — but, the rest of the cast is treated as insignificant. The other kids, for example, are whisked away like nothing — it almost feels pointless to even include them.

As far as horror goes, I've always enjoyed Insidious. Insidious incorporates creepy sounds, eerie visuals, some decent suspense, and, of course, plenty of jolting jump-scares. This combination of horror creates a versatile ride of terror. It really leaves an impression of excitement and even some dread. It is heavily-reliant on jump-scares, though. This is part of the excitement because they are actually executed well. These jump-scares work with the suspense to amplify the jolt. Not only that, these scares are also creative — they're not just sudden. On the other hand, if you watch this film again too soon afterward, the scares may be less effective due to their nature. Also, the film has a pinch of comedy — it conjured a few chuckles, but it really isn't much worth noting.

The acting was generally good. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne work well together. They can't really hit the more dramatic notes effectively, but they are more than serviceable throughout most the film — I'd even say they were great. Lin Shaye was also splendid. The film is shot very well, the camerawork was very engaging and effective. The discordant score is fantastic — it really amplifies the horror, and not only because it's loud. James Wan directs and Leigh Whannell writes. Leigh Whannell crafts a creative “haunted house” tale — it reminded me a bit of Poltergeist for some reason. Of course, the film would be more effective with a little more character. James Wan meticulously crafts the suspense and the jarring jump-scares. Through his video-audio decisions, Wan delivers a very effective horror experience.

Overall, Insidious is a great horror film. On the surface, it may seem like a one-trick pony, especially since that one trick is so loud and in-your-face. But, when you look at the film as a whole, Insidious offers a versatile horror experience — creepy visuals, chilling sounds, spine-tingling suspense, and the booming jump-scares. It has some narrative shortcomings, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Watch it.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence, blood, disturbing images.

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