Typically when a movie gets a lot of sequels when it’s in any genre, particularly the Horror genre, the first one in the series is the best and is possibly pretty good in its own right. I decided to give Insidious a try after seeing multiple things about the movie and seeing that it already has a sequel, prequel and a possible 4th film on the way.
About: After moving into a new house with their three children, Josh and Renai’s son Dalton explores the attic. He falls off a ladder and becomes comatose before being taken to the hospital. He spends 3 months there before his parents bring him back home. Strange events begin to occur in the house like strange noises from the baby’s room when no one else is inside as well as mysterious figures appearing. Insidious was the highest grossing film in the year 2011 and has received mostly positive reviews. It won the Fright Meter Award for both Best Horror Film and Best Supporting Actress.
Warning! Potential spoilers ahead!
The Plot/Characters: At first I was not sure that this movie was going to have many redeeming qualities in terms of a plot. It starts off as a horror movie cliche, with parents moving into a new house with their three children. The one, Dalton, ends up playing in the attic and hitting his head. Following the incident, he falls into a strange coma that doctor’s can’t explain. The parents are fairly flat as characters at first, but the father makes strides at some character development later down the road, which really added a lot to the movie.
When paranormal investigators are finally called by the Mother who keeps seeing strange things around the house, the father learns and comes to accept that his son can astral project and that has led him to get lost in the astral plain. Not only that, but he has to deal with some old demons of his past, as he also used to astral project. This whole portion of the plot really saved the story for me, as it added an element of heart to the movie that had been lacking up until the second act. Most of the characters are fairly flat, however. The ones that really stand out besides the dad for me are the two paranormal investigator hunters. Ironically, the one also played in Saw and both are screenwriters. The main twist at the end, which I thought would be reverse, also came as an unexpected surprise for me.
The Scares: Jumpscares don’t necessarily equate to a good horror movie, but when they are done right, they can be amazingly scary. If it’s one thing that this movie has down, it’s jumpscares and they implement this about as often and frequently as they can, but with different set ups to keep you on your toes, some of which are so unexpected, that they will make you jump out of your chair. I was instantly reminded of Five Nights at Freddy’s. The music and atmosphere adds a whole lot to this as well and it’s clear that those working on the movie understood what was necessary to build up to a good jumpscare.
That being said, the movie is also not without other forms of scares, including unexpected things like a bloody hand print appearing on Dalton’s bed sheets or a sketched out image of a creepy monster as the paranormal investigator woman begins to chant whispered nonsense under her breath. There’s also the suspense built up as the father travels into the Further, where there are loads of ghosts… None of which are pleasant. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up at the old timey family frozen in the living room.
The Monster: There are several monsters in this film that make appearances. They are varied as well, which makes the idea of an astral plain a bit more believable. There are two freaky main ghosts, however. One that is trying to possess Dalton: a black entity with a red painted face. There is also an older hag dressed in all black.
The Score: Insidious utilizes a pretty basic soundtrack, however, the build ups in the score really create a lot of atmosphere, and the sudden pick ups are used a lot with jumpscares for an added affect. That doesn’t mean the score is ordinary, however. I found myself just utterly creeped out by some of the portions of the music throughout despite no action really taking place at the time. It serves to unease you pretty fast.
Overall: Overall, Insidious started out as one of those movies I was going to easily forget. Another movie just like “The Conjuring” or one filled with cliches. However, it took some twists and turns towards the second half of the movie that made it very enjoyable for me and actually served to scare me a good many times. That doesn’t mean I’m rushing out to go see the sequels anytime soon, but pretty content with this film on its own. Just don’t watch it before bed time…
Have you seen Insidious? If so, what did you think?