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What a fucking Insidious film.
Problem 1: What kind of title is "Insidious" for a movie? I get the feeling that Wan went on the random word generator and decided it was a spooky sounding word and would make a cool title. That, or the title was changed in editing from "The Phantom Menace 2."
Much like Dead Silence, Insidious starts off pretty creepy. There are some cool scenes and spooky happenings, but after the film has reached the hour mark it all goes to shit.
Let's see, The plot of Insidious is this: Boy sees demon, boy goes in to mysterious coma, boy's father must go in to the boy's dreams to "find" his son's soul and ward off the demons before it's too late.
Sounds pretty stupid, right? Well aside from the plot being bumfuck retarded, the film relies on NOTHING but jump scares to deliver creepy moments. There's something in the closet! Oh no, jump scare! Yeah, it's that kind of movie.
The effects are just awful and the main antagonist looks EXACTLY like the old woman from Dead Silence. I'm pretty sure it's the same fucking woman. The film also ends in exactly the same way Dead Silence did, with the woman shrieking at the screen and a scare chord from the 60's being blasted. Really quite lame.
The real problem comes from the father's adventure in to his son's dreams. He wanders around a Bill & Ted-esque landscape and comes across some weird slasher-smile family with no plot relevance... and when he finds the demon, it's Darth Maul.
No joke; it's fucking Darth Maul. I'm not saying it looks like Darth Maul - I'm saying it FUCKING IS DARTH MAUL.
So Darth Maul chases Inception Dad around a black backdrop while... ugh... Tiny Tim plays (fucking scary, right) Tiptoe through the Tulips and... yeah. Be glad it's the last 10 minutes of the movie because I was just about to give up at that point. I won't spoil the end for you but let's just say it's totally predictable.
So what do I actually like about this movie? Not a lot. Adam from SAW is in it, I guess. Oh, and before the psychic character appears there are some good scenes, but that's about it, really. Don't bother with this one if you have a modicum of intelligence and enjoy real horror movies. If you're a young girl and planning a sleepover, though, I highly recommend.
When I first got the run-down on this film, it came in the form of the following sentence: "That Saw guy Wan is making Poltergeist". I sat down to the film when it came out on online rental, watching it on my iPad while pretending to work at a dead-end office job. In short, the most horror-dampening environment possible. Expecting the sort of flick Wan has been doing, I thought it would be funny. I was wrong. I have never been so terrified in a fluorescent-lamp lit room in my life. And it took a solid month to stop being just a little bit scared when it was quiet in my apartment. That's some quality scare power.
The subtlety of this film's horror is really what draws in the scares. The age-old jump scare appears, of course, but it's the sort of odd nothingness that really gets one's metaphorical pants wet. For large parts of the movie, the scary things are so subtle that even the characters seem to need a few seconds to catch on and react. It's a sort of tempo that keeps the viewer on edge and the influence of the Paranormal Activity writers shows in it. I suppose what really shows through in all the elements is the over-arching sense of uneasiness. It's like the principles of 'nothing is scarier' are mixed with just enough 'there is something there' to make the sum greater than the parts.
This review has spoilers:
Insidious is definitely worth watching. The movie is pretty creepy and the fact that it has an extra creepy soundtrack (composed by the guy who plays the main demon) probably helps out. Depending on how easily scared you are; you might not want to watch it at night. I also like the fact that this is a very rare haunted house film where once the protagonists realize that creepy things are going down, they actually try moving. Of course that doesn't work, since the scary ghosts are following the couple's son around because they really want to possess his body. And because his soul has been separated from his body, they can do that soon. There's also the demon who likes to hurt people for fun and is the closest to being able to posses the kid. I like that the ghosts are haunting one specific person, and not just a house. The film explores astral projection too, which I haven't seen that much of outside of the TV series Charmed. I also liked the no one in the movie is ridiculously stupid. The father does get the Idiot Ball though at the end of the film and it's very bad since he gets possessed by the old woman. But this film does avoid a lot of usual horror cliches like "Hey, let's split up" or "Hey, let's have sex while the a serial killer/supernatural entity loose that wants us dead." The father does go into the Further by himself to save his son, but that's justified since he's the only one who can astral project.
The makeup they use for the ghosts and demons is pretty good and it's nice to see a film that isn't over-using CGI. The demon is especially monstrous and the ghosts are just unsettling and creepy. The extras playing the ghosts were pretty good too. Overall this is a well-done movie that doesn't have major plot-holes.
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