Saturday, July 2, 2011

150 Days of Halloween: Insidious

Falling a bit behind, and that's because my insomnia is pretty bad this week. Haven't slept much at all really, and its eating away at me. So tonight I will only review Insidious, and tomorrow I will double review to catch up. This may end up a bit short, which is a shame really, because the movie is beyond excellent, but sleep has to be my primary concern today.

Insidious is the ghost movie to end all ghost movies. It does everything right and better then its been done before, its incredible. Music sets you up and then just leaves you all alone, primed for the scares. Things slink around out of focus in the backgrounds, sounds whisper in your ears, and whenever things get dark the movie pulls you in as you lean on the edge of your chair. It has been years since a movie has actually made me feel dread and horror, to actually increase my heart rate. Its that well done.
Now to try and not spoil the scares via images!
The movie even cuts my normal haunting movie complain off at the pass. Traditionally I enjoy haunting movies, but moan and yell at the people in the house. Just move already! Get a new house and let the real estate company worry about it. The family in this movie does that in the first act, they aren't your typical horror movie protagonists. This movie isn't driven by bad decisions that the plot needs characters to make! This is practically unheard of in the haunted house section of the horror world.

I will give you an ever so brief idea of the plot, because if you like horror in anyway, then you owe it to yourself to see Insidious unspoiled, alone, and in the dark. Headphones makes it an even more imposing experience, so it gets a vote for that as well. Before the movie even gets started the opening credits manage to provide a creepy and foreboding entrance to the experience, something I always appreciate in a good movie. Set the tone before you even start the show.
The only Google Image of him that doesn't spoil a scare. Enjoy the armchair.
We open with a family moving into a new house, looking for a fresh start and a space that will inspire them and make them happy. They settle in, getting used to the new house, and life resumes save for a few strange occurrences that everyone writes off. Until one of the children falls and hits his head, and the next morning is in a mysterious coma. Then the dread really begins to mount, and the movie makes excellent strides in these moments, making the first half of the film near flawless in tension building and scares.

They, as I said, soon move to avoid the horrors of the house they fear to be haunted. They soon learn however, that the house isn't haunted. Their comatose son is, and unspeakable things are trying to use him as a means of accessing the world of the living. The second half of the movie still nails the mounting dread of the film and the fear of what could be around any corner, but does drop off some from the excellent first half. They couldn't hold that high forever, and needed to drive the story somewhere, so its understandable in a way. Little can compare to that first hour of the film.
The best child actors are the ones in comas.
Despite the dip for the second half, its still a great time and expands the world built up in the first, and while some may not like the direction of the second half, I absolutely loved it. It helps that the things they go into absolutely fascinate me, the nature of dreams and out of body experiences. The very climax of the film almost feels like some horror version of an intense car chase, as we are thrust into a completely new setting with no certainty and a very dire time limit.

If you are fascinated by ghost stories and love the feeling of creeping doom, then see Insidious. It drips with foreboding atmosphere and manages to evoke the most chilling nightmare in its best moments. Its a proud addition to the horror genre, and shows that you don't need a shaking camera or buckets of gore to tell a truly frightening story. Which is ironic in a way, as it was made by people involved in Saw and Paranormal Activity.
Good, now you won't be ready for when things freak you out.
As always, please check out The 150 Days of Halloween for the full schedule and for links to past reviews. Coming up we have The Blair Witch Project which I haven't seen it was in theaters, so that will be a bit of a time warp. Now to get some sleep and try my best to resist the siren call that is Steam's Summer Camp event.


  1. Good post, I love your blog!

  2. this movie looks pretty freaky

  3. There is a creepy factor going on today in the blogosphere.

  4. Just saw this movie last night, awesome movie.