Newest Review: ... suggests that they seek spiritual help after a visit from the local Priest fails to quell the general spookiness and malaise g... more
Member Name: bilbob20
Advantages: Scary as hell
Disadvantages: It runs out of steam two thirds of the way in
Put Halloween or A Nightmare On Elm Street on for me, and I'm completely fine. Increasingly devoid of scares, and so familiar to me that I could recite them word for word, I have no problem sitting through those old senseless slasher films. However, put me in front of the new breed of psychological horror that have been doing the rounds in the wake of such gems as Hostel and Saw, and I spend more than half the film with my eyes behind my hands. Insidious is just that type of psychological horror that cranks up the tension rather than delivering quick jolts, and is all the more terrifying for it.
Opening with an eerie montage of the film's main set, the tone is quickly set for the horror that follows. The Lambert family (Josh and Renai) have just moved into a new house with their 3 kids. It becomes apparent fairly quickly that something isn't right though as Renai Lambert becomes more and more ill at ease in the house. When their son Dalton slips into an unexplained coma, things take a disturbing turn for the worse. His body appears to be housing some evil being who appears round corners and along corridors of the house. Renai and Josh turn to his mother Lorraine and a bizarre medium who comes complete with a duo of ghostbusters for help, as a terrible secret from Josh' past comes to surface.
Insidious is utterly terrifying for its first hour. Relentlessly atmospheric and chilling, most of the horror takes place at the new Lambert house. The last act lets the film down though, as things become slightly camp and down right daft. The explanation for Dalton's descent into the subconscious is a prize one, but when the characters of Elise and her two jokey pals are introduced, the potentially excellent premise is frittered away on one-liners and set pieces that are, frankly, laughable.
Patrick Wilson does a decent job as the straight faced lecturer Josh, who seems incredulous to his wife's claims that something is haunting their house. It is Rose Byrne though who gives it some welly though, as she goes between fragile wife and overprotective mother. Although this should be nothing more than a scarefest, because there are children at the centre of the horror, you find yourself more sympathetic to the adults. A somewhat spooky appearance from Barbara Herschey, who seems to be taking a masterclass in being scary, enhances proceedings, but it's still not enough to save the film from a woeful ending.
The direction of the film is virtually flawless, it is the hokey script that lets it down as things head towards its climax. Director James Wan is no stranger to horror having already directed the original Saw film, as well as producing most of its sequels. In his hands, the scares are plentiful. It just seems that the focus shifted halfway through the script to chuck up too many surprises, not enough scares and some weirdly out of place one-liners from two characters who make the film feel like a youtube parody.
Definitely one of the scarier films of the past couple of years, its just a shame they didn't see it through to the end.
Summary: Insidious is terrifying in all the right places, it just fails dismally when it adds too much story