Insidious is about a family who moves into a creepy house, hears creepy noises, and then their son winds up in an unexpected three-month coma. Evil, possessing demon spirits get involved, turns out the kid is at the brink of being possessed and drawn into a land called The Further (terrrrrible title, I know). Apparently he’s been making it a hobby to escape from the real world lately, he can fly and stuff. Too bad those hell-creatures caught up with him.
Mom does a lot of crying, Dad does a lot of disbelieving. But then Daddy gets to revisit his childhood psyche after a crazy lady talks to them, jumps onboard and decides to help bring their kid back into the real world, alive and stuff.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a horror movie kinda person. Granted, this is much, MUCH tamer than anything else James Wan ever created but I just don’t do the jumpy stuff. Probably because my first reaction is to laugh rather than scream, I’ve just never been that girl. I concede, however, that I can declare this a pretty good movie. I mean, I still had problems with it, but considering how low my expectations were walking into it, it ended up being more than just a haunted house movie. It helped that I was endlessly entertained by the screaming DUDES in the building.
Here’s what’s up. We’ve got two main characters, parents to our demon-boy Dalton (Ty Simpkins) – Renai and Josh Lambert (Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson). They’ve got two other kids besides Dalton. At the beginning, Renai may be scared out of her pants at the freakish noises and ghost-like shapes that taunt and follow her, but she’s still in charge of what goes on. She’s telling her husband what to do, reprimanding him for his lack of existence. Josh is just that – nonexistent. My friend and I BOTH thought that he had to be having an affair when he was staying late for no reason in his classroom. When really it was nothing more than a dumb plot device to keep her alone in the house more often.
Then in the second half of the movie, things COMPLETELY turn around. Josh finally figures out that Renai and the crazy lady (named Elise – played by Lin Shaye) might actually be right about their son’s ability to teleport, and he finally realizes that he’s the one that’s got to save him. So he becomes all macho, overcomes his childhood nightmares and becomes likable. Renai, on the other hand, becomes passive, afraid, and submissive. I HATE that kind of woman. I hate it when a woman cannot think for herself and does nothing but wait around for her man to help her out of the sticky situation. It was a bizarre flip-flop.
On the bright side, while the first half was laughable, the second half was borderline terrifying and definitely unsettling. I’m a rough judge because I just don’t get scared very easily – but by the end, though I had yet to jump, scream, spit out my drink, or pee my pants, I was a little perturbed. The cinematographers and cameramen do everything right. Seeing things as the characters see them, while typical of a scary movie, was perfectly synched in Insidious. And the loud noises are that much more shocking in surround sound.
True, there are holes and improbabilities. First of all, where in HELL did the other children disappear to? “Their Grandma’s” is the script’s answer, but then Grandma (Barbara Hershey) shows up at their house… without kids? And no explanation to where they’ve gone? What an awful mother. That baby was darn cute, too. I also loved the part where, when the mother was attacked by a man in her room, she and hubby sit there sobbing on the floor rather than go check on their SCREAMING CHILD.
Second, can a six year old kid REALLY outrun a demon running on all fours? I think not…
Another, perhaps personal, thing that’s bothersome is how this film tries to be scary and creepy from the get-go. I mean, really? Are we going to jump out of our pants during the scrolling credits? I’m afraid of surprise, I’m afraid of things that could actually happen. Setting the creepy tone that early does nothing but separate the bridge between movie and real-life fear.
The highlight was definitely centered around the Ghostbusters (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) that accompany Elise on their first visit with the Lamberts. Good comic relief. A bigger flashlight is all you need…
The more I think about it, the more I realize that I probably sound pretty naïve with this review. You’re right, I am not a frequenter of the horror genre so I really don’t know what I’m saying. Maybe this was the worst scary movie ever written (and, bee tee dubs, the script was pretty bad. Whoever came up with “the further” in the first place should be fired). But based on whatever I do know, I thought this movie was decent. It’s the old-fashioned tension that gets me. Worth a watch, if scary movies are your thing then definitely so. And let’s not pay too close of attention to the pictures that are taken of me anymore, huh? 6/10