Director: James Wan
While the story is not startlingly original, Insidious rearranges the time-tested conventions of the haunting story into a smart, tight, and expertly manipulative "boo-machine" fine-tuned to get you jumping out of your seat. Insidious is a relatively bloodless film compared to recent gore fests but will nevertheless get your blood pumping with an even deeper sense of dread.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Insidious Specters
IS IT SHOCKING
Except for some blood-red hand prints left on pristine bed sheets, there's no blood to speak of in Insidious. No one is cut. No guts are pulled out of bodies. No brains are munched and no flesh is flayed. Then how shocking could Insidious be? Well, as a seasoned horror-viewer, let me say that I can't remember the last time a horror film got me to jump out of my seat until I saw Insidious. And I'm talking about an honest jump; I don't count cheap jump scares in which slashers or monsters lunge at the camera and loud musical stings assault your eardrums. Yes, Insidious, managed to spook me -- honestly and genuinely spook me -- with its creepy atmosphere, expert editing, and startlingly creepy slow burn that climaxes in a series of startling reveals.
|So a Mormon and a Psychic walk into a haunted house....|
Aside from the "boo" moments and thrill scenes, Insidious is also extremely well-acted. Rosie Bryne and Patrick Wilson perform as extremely natural and likable parents even under stress. They fully commit to keeping the film grounded in a domestic reality even as its metaphysical plot threads begin to tighten. In this symphony of scares, without the strong cast hitting each of their character notes, the "boo" beats certainly would have fallen flat too.
I was both incredibly surprised and satisfied with Insidious. It plays safely within the sub-genre of ghost films with all the available conventions as established by other movies, but it fixes them in a new arrangement that even managed to scare a horror junkie like me.
With the glut of remakes and reboots flooding the horror genre, why not take a chance in the darkened theatre with an original film like Insidious? The worst that can happen is you'll begin to wonder what else is lurking unseen in the dark with you.