Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

REVIEW: Insidious

Insidious ***½

The trailer for ‘Insidious’ is excellent, it’s incredibly well put together, looks great and ends with a fantastic line of dialogue and an unnerving shot of a terrifying claw-handed figure in the shadows of a kids bedroom. I loved it and was desperate to see this film; usually with each new horror release that comes along we get a pretty good trailer and are let down by the final product. Not with Insidious.

Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) move into a huge new house, it’s perfect for them and their 3 children, the eldest of whom, Dalton (Ty Simpkins – another scary kid to add to the growing list) is terrified of something. There are strange noises in the house, things move by their own volition and one night Ty investigates, falls and bumps his head. The next morning falls into what appears to be a coma; the doctors are confounded, he doesn’t get any better and after a few months he’s allowed to go home under the care of a day nurse. This is when things get worse, the odd activities in the house increase, Renai is terrified and starts to see the ghosts; then the bloody hand print on Daltons bed sheet is the last straw. Unlike most other haunted house thrillers the family here move out, at last someone in this situation gets it… or so we think.

Despite the move the situation worsens. As a last resort Josh and Renai decide to bring in the help of two paranormal investigators (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) and psychic Elise Reiner (Liz Shaye). Reiner delivers the fantastic line that was used so well in the trailer: “It’s not the house that’s haunted, it’s your son”. The film takes an unexpected turn from here to the end, go with it and you’ll probably love the movie… if you don’t then you’ll probably feel a little let down.

Insidious was written by the ‘Saw’ team of Director James Wan and Actor Leigh Whannell and they’ve crafted a genuinely creepy and in some parts terrifying movie. The scares all derive from the tension that Wan ratchets up from the very start. He doesn’t throw in all the fake scares that are commonplace these days, no ‘closing the bathroom cabinet to reveal…’ or ‘nearing a sound in a wardrobe only for it to be a cat’ etc. Instead the movie concentrates on building the tension and creepy atmosphere so we’re on edge throughout.

As you would expect with the likes of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey (as Renai’s mother), the actors are all good. Even Whannell turns in a kooky performance that works and Liz Shaye is definitely channelling Zelda Rubinstein from Poltergeist. Which brings us to the script; it’s obviously very well written and researched… and by researched I mean it lifts freely from any number of classic horror films of the past: Poltergeist, Amityville Horror, The Exorcist and The Omen. It also features similar themes to ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ which is no surprise as it’s co-produced by Jason Blum. That’s not a complaint as at least they’ve come up with some new and different ideas. The script is also quite funny but not in a ‘Scream 4’ way, the humour here works with the movie.

Quality: 4 out of 5 stars

Any good: 3 out of 5 stars