There are not many films modern films out there, that i would class as being scary. I’ve watched them all from Friday the 13th to Paranormal activity. I’d quite happily watch the exorcist by myself in a dark room; Happily munch away at a bag of popcorn whilst watching Hellraiser, match my odd socks whilst Poltergeist is on, but insidious is a different kettle of fish. It’s the only recent film that unnerves me. Yes ill watch it alone, but I have to have the lights on.
I’m not quite sure what it is about insidious, as I have thought about this quite carefully. Ghosts don’t frighten me. I’ve been brought up on ghost stories. From my grandfathers story of the ghostly apparition down alley one foggy morning, to my father’s encounter with the “white Lady” at the old hanging tree in Foots Cray Meadows. I myself have seen what i believe to be a ghost. None of this scares me. No matter what you throw at my, ghosts are a little creepy, but never scary.
I think what makes insidious such a successful film is it’s use of “shocks”. A classic shock on screen is usually pronounced with a sudden orchestral stab, insidious stab are LOUD and sharp, even if im not watching the film, those audio cues make me jump. But it’s more than that, the visuals shocks are great too. The demon (yes I said Demon…) that appears behind Patrick Wilson’s (Josh) head is kindy scary and it totally sells that moment. Ok, it’s pretty much a scary version of Darth Maul that pops up, but it is a scary looking thing. I certainly would not want that chasing me down a dark alley on Friday night!. It’s helps that you don’t see much of it too, in fact, as usual for a scary creature in films, when you do see him in full glory, it’s kind of disappointing.
I also think that the timing of the scares is spot on, when these things happen, it’s not obvious. Usually you’ll follow blond big tits down into the basement, because she heard a noise, you know the scare is coming, you prepare yourself. You wait carefully for that moment, you hold you breath and you clench your hands………. BANG …..Cat!
Insidious does not give you time to prepare, when a scare comes, you are not prepared (So says Illidan)! Even on a second view, shit, even on a third, some of those moments still send a shiver down my spine and make me jump a little. I watched it on Saturday, and I had to keep checking behind me ..just in case. I think it will be a key moment in my life, when I can sit down and watch this fucker alone, in the dark!
The film does fall flat on afew key points…like it’s lack of decent actors. Rose Byrne (Renai) is not a very good actor. I don’t think she should do any more films. I really don’t! Patrick Wilson would be great cast as a plank of wood, he is so emotionless. So these two prance around pulling all manor of weird faces throughout the film, it’s just cringe-worthy Compare Bryne and Wilsons performance to that of Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams from the (1982) film Poltergeist. Nelson and Williams portrayal of a family torn apart in a similar scenario to Insidious, is real, warm and, at times, heartbreaking. There is simply no warmth or realism to either Bryne or Wilson.
The saving grace here is Lin Shaye (Elise) as the psychic help.I like to think of her as a taller version of Zelda Rubinstein from Poltergeist. Lin is brilliant, she brings a very strong presence to the film, and I honestly can say, without her, the film would have fallen flat. The scene with the mask is one of the most prominent moments in modern horror I’ve seen.
Ok, so the films scary (IMO), the plots a little thin and the acting a little lousy, but I have watched it three times over. And was compelled to see the sequel in its opening week. Insidious is my favorite modern horror. It does not break any new grounds. It is still a film based on quick scares and flimsy plot, but it is so well put togther. It’s the big budget horror film ive been waiting on for years. One which the studious have been too nervous about making. 18 rated films just don’t make money. And whilst cheaply made films like Paranormal activity make millions, it’s about time that a REAL horror film was made, rather than one marketed for people who don’t usually watch horror.
- Overall Score 52.5% 52.5%
The Geek Says…
- Writer Leigh Whannell stated at the Toronto Film Festival that when he wrote the film he had a list of horror movie clichés posted above him, so he could avoid using them. He said the first one was to make sure the family moved into a new house once the haunting started
- In the scene where Josh is dismissing his class, director James Wan’s name can be seen on the blackboard, underlined twice.