by Erik Sean McGiven on Apr 07, 2011
Insidious is classic haunted
house movie with scary gotchas and mounting dread.
The movie opens as the Lambert family moves into a large old
house, one that has an Amityville persona and soon becomes a menacing character
in this film. With numerous rooms,
corridors, staircases, and dimly lit, it’s easy to assume something is lurking
in the shadows, waiting to entrap.
For a while, the move appears normal, but then Renai (Rose
Byrne) senses something amiss when she finds books tossed from the book shelve
where she placed just minutes ago. Their
son (Ty Simpkins) explores the house and while in the attic falls off a
treacherous ladder, hitting his head and later going into a coma. Tests reveal no head trauma.
Renai feels something strange is happening. She finds her box of music has mysteriously
moved to the attic. In addition, doors
and windows are opening by themselves.
Soon she's seeing startling apparitions, people moving by the
windows. Her husband (Patrick Wilson)
doesn't give her sightings much credence and begins working late where he
teaches grading papers. His mom,
(Barbara Hershey) tells Renai she's imagining things. Yet she helps them hire a psychic (Lin Shaye)
to find a solution.
The psychic sends over her two ghostbusters (Angus Sampson
and screenwriter Leigh Whannell) to analyze the house for disturbances. Their incompetence as paranormal
investigators is quite evident and it adds some comic relief to an otherwise
somber story. When the psychic arrives,
she is seriously alarmed. She's seen
similar cases before. It's not the house
that's haunted she says; it's their son.
What follows is a surrealistic intervention where the
astral-projecting phenomenon is explained and the lost-soul spirits are called
forth. Wan, the director balances a
familiar tale with a couple of novel plot twists and these will have you on
edge through the final minutes. One could feel manipulated as you journey
through this story, yet for the masochistic audience that enjoys a scary
spine-tingling trip, this is definitely your ride.
As for the insidious creatures that wanted to inhabit young Dalton's body, they gave
the story an eerie presence initially.
Yet soon there were so many that their menacing powers were diluted and
they’ve lost their impact. Another flaw
in this film is the complexity of paranormal activity. This explanation has so many layers that one
soon looses the shrewdness and scariness of the story.
Of all the supernatural characters, the most insidious is
the Old Women portrayed by Philip Friedman.
Her presence is terrifying in that she's the most powerful, for when
inhabiting the living she actually kills.
Moreover, as the story ends, of all the life-hungry beings residing in
this story, only she survives and… she's still out there. Sequel?
Production credits are first rate. The muted colors gave the film an almost
black and white look of period horror film.
Joseph Bishara's music leads us through this maze punctuating the
horrific moments. Aaron Sims' production
design gives the film an environment where the paranormal can truly
reside. The script tends to be more of a
competition than that of focusing on the terror the participants feel. In fact, the concept might also serve well as
a video game where ghostly creatures are matched against one's own phobias and
the ability to protect one's family from being inhabited.
CREDITS: "Insidious" stars Patrick Wilson, Rose
Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor, Lin Shave, Barbara Hershey, Leigh Whannell,
and Angus Sampson. David M. Brewer and
John R. Leonetti - Cinematographers; Joseph Bishara - Composer; Aaron Sims -
Production Designer; Kirk M. Morri and James Wan - Editors; Oren Peli and
Steven Schneider - Producers; Leigh Whannell - Writer; James Wan -
Director. Produced by Alliance Films, Automatik Entertainment &
Blumhouse Productions. Distributed by
FilmDistrict. PG rated, 102 Minutes.