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YMMV / Insidious

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  • Complete Monster:
    • Chapter 2: The Woman In White, aka Michelle Crane, is a vicious ghost. When she was mortal, she tormented her young son Parker after Parker's father left them. She'd force him into girls' clothing and a wig, refuse to let him call himself Parker and instead refer to him only as Marilyn, and physically abused him when he tried to stand up for himself. When Parker grew up, she forced him to become a twisted Serial Killer who would be dubbed The Bride In Black. Parker, at her urging, would claim fifteen victims before her death, whereupon he committed suicide. When her son possessed Josh, Michelle tried to get him to murder Josh's entire family, Josh's children included.
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    • Chapter 3: The mysterious, enigmatic ghost simply known as The Man Who Can't Breathe, or the Wheezing Demon, is a vengeful, violent spirit seeking not to regain life like other spirits, but rather to trap as many people with him as possible by terrorizing them, stealing their souls away, and driving victims to suicide so that he may keep them in the afterlife as his own pets. He does this to protagonist Quinn, luring her into the path of an incoming car, which strikes her and shatters her legs. Trapped in her room and unable to escape, Quinn is attacked by The Man, who further injures her before attacking her soul. When good-hearted psychic Elise Rainer becomes involved, the Man stalks and attacks her in her own home. He proceeds to possess Quinn and attack those trying to help her (including her own father) with a wrench, further injuring Quinn's body. The heroes manage to restrain her as Elise travels into the Further to confront the Man, where he changes form into her deceased husband Jack to persuade her to take her own life so they may be together again.
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  • Creepy Awesome: Elise. She's 100 pounds of creepy and awesome in a 10 pound bag.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Specs and Tucker are extremely popular with the fanbase. Elise is also popular enough that she became the deuteragonist of Chapter 3 and the main protagonist of The Last Key.
  • First Installment Wins: The original is arguably the premier movie of the series, kicking off the series with a classic haunted house story but with a twist in that it's not the house itself that's drawing in ghosts. Plus, the father refreshingly averts the Supernatural-Proof Father trope and doesn't mess around with his family's safety when they're in jeopardy, even moving the family to a new home in an attempt to throw off the ghosts harassing them.
  • Funny Moments: Many with Specs and Tucker. In Chapter 2, the two of them encounter a spectre of Parker Crane as a child while dressed as a girl. He quietly warns them that about his mother, saying, "if she sees you [in the room], she'll make me kill you." They simply turn around and briskly walk out.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: Dalton's predicament of being Trapped on the Astral Plane is similar to the one that Henry Townsend finds himself in during Silent Hill 4: The Room. Except, Dalton desperately needs outside help to wake up. He is also too terrified to fight back against the ghosts and demons, and potentially return to his body. Both Henry and Dalton also find themselves trapped in a twisted version of their homes.
  • Ho Yay: Tucker and Specs. They're very close and often share some rather personal touches. It doesn't help that they bicker like an old married couple. Elise even says that it's clear that they "need each other."
  • Iron Woobie: Elise, let's face it. She dies in the first film and yet takes it with stride, even telling Josh it isn't his fault she's now dead and telling Carl he did what he could to help the Lambert family. The third film takes it Up to Eleven to reveal she wasn't always the Cool Old Lady that she was, showing her as a pretty somber woman dealing with the loss of her husband, only to go back onto the supernatural wagon when she needed to help Quinn and her family. Not bad for a woman who's still helping even in death. And that's not even to the fact she was emotionally and physically abuse by a father who didn't understand her powers, and was tricked by a spirit into allowing it free only for it to kill her mother.
  • Narm:
    • The baby toys activating in the middle of the night doesn't come off as scary to anyone who has actually lived in a house with baby toys. They go off on their own all the time.
    • The scene where a kid changes the song in the Lamberts' second home and starts running around playfully. It's supposed to be creepy, but one might wonder why Renai's first response isn't at least attempting to ask the kid if they live around here and/or why they're running around the Lamberts' home. The fact that the kid is more clearly visible, unlike most of the ghosts, stands out as well making it merely feel like a kid in the neighborhood entered the home on a dare.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • The viral marketing for the movie had an Alternate Reality Game called Voice From The Further, about a blog maintained by a woman who also mysteriously fell into a coma as a small child and is now trying to discover what happened to her. Some parts are genuinely creepy, mentioning ill-spirited ghosts and figures like the Redfaced Man, but then let down by obvious Photoshop jobs and amateur video. Case in point.
    • Some people thought the gas mask was funny rather than eerie, same with the little dancing kid.
    • One of the film's big scary moments is supposed to be when Josh discovers Dalton imprisoned in the Further with the demon, but since the demon has a penchant for listening to Tiny Tim, his infernal lair looks like the set of a Meatloaf video, and he's first properly shown cheerfully sharpening his claws while listening to his favorite tune. It can come across like the demon was expecting visitors and put on a cheesy display to look like a demon super villain to impress Josh.
    • The demon himself can be this, due in no small part to his more-than-passing resemblance to Darth Maul in a bad toupee.
    • Also, the demon guarding the door to the Red-Faced Demon's lair isn't so bad once you get a pep talk, and unleash a Street Fighter move on him.
      • He's not all that scary in the first place, seeing as he's basically just some buff dude with a lot of makeup on and both of his most significant scenes in either movie end with him getting his ass kicked, bringing to mind a WWE Heel Jobber.
  • She Really Can Act: Lin Shaye gets huge amount of praise for her acting in the films for playing a Creepy Awesome psychic who can face off demons despite her age, especially since newer fans will notice her as the one-off teacher from the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel:
    • There's still some cheese, sure, but at the very least, Chapter 2 does a good job of avoiding the first film's blunderous Narm. However, critics seem to think the opposite, judging by the fact that the film sports a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes in comparison to IMDB's 7.1 and Cinemascore's B+.
    • Critics considered Chapter 3 a step up from 2, with it sporting a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The whole plot point about Josh being suspected of Elise's murder seems like it is going to play a major role at the beginning of the second movie, only to be quickly dropped and never brought up again.
      • Not completely. A little later in the film, Renai receives a phone call from the detective that interviewed her to let her know that the DNA tests showed it wasn't Josh that killed Elise. It was Josh's body that strangled Elise, yet the DNA provided on the wounds are not Josh's. So this is there to show just how much reach Parker Crane has, actually being able to change his host's fingerprints.
    • The epilogue of Chapter 2 shows Elise continuing to work cases with Specs and Tucker as a ghost. Since movies 3 and 4 are prequels to the original two films, however, we have yet to see this premise in action.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Even though The Last Key received largely negative reviews from critics, they praised Lin Shaye's performance.
  • The Woobie:
    • Dalton in the first film, a little kid who is basically trapped in Hell.
    • Parker Crane as a child especially when you see how his mother treated him. Becomes Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds as he grows old and post-death.
    • Despite some critiques due to Too Dumb to Live moments, Josh as well. He's a Deconstruction of the typical horror movie father: He's shown as very worried about what's wrong with his son, and when it comes to the supernatural aspects, he obviously dismisses them. But when he realizes they are true, he's willing to go with it, mainly because he wants to see his son again. The revelation that Parker Cane was constantly following him all his life, and then trapping him in the Further makes him more of a Woobie.

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