Insidious – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

insidiousInsidious – 3.5/5 – Horror films; they will either do their jobs or fail trying.  When I refer to ‘doing your job’, horror movies have to do one thing.  No matter what the theme is, what activities occur or the endingtwist, horror films are suppose to scare you.  If this doesn’t happen, it is marked as a failure.  In the case of this film, not only does it give a different look at the horror genre, but it also provides us with a unique twist not seen in most of these films.  With some cliché plot elements, and a slow buildup, Insidious turns out to be a great horror flick.

Premise:  After moving into a new home, a boy falls into a coma after a mysterious incident in attic.   The family is desperate to find anyway to have the boy back normal, but little do they know that there is much more to this coma than meets the eye.  As the family starts to witness darker things, they rediscover the past, and learn there is more to the story then just a regular boy in a coma.

This will be a first for me.  I usually go into great detail about acting for most film.  With this film, I am not going to go in depth in the acting department.  You have some noticeable names in the main role of the father (Patrick Wilson) and mother (Rose Byrne), but that is pretty much where the line is drawn.  When it comes to the main two, they are just typical people caught up in the mysteries of this weird and twisted story.  They provide some depth to their roles when it comes to general scares, as well as horrors that surround them, but don’t bring enough for us to care about their situation.  There isn’t much of a backstory here as well, but as the movie goes along we get a slight glimpse into the father’s past.  This doesn’t really help develop the character, but becomes more of a plot element to move the horror film along.  With the supporting cast, you have your standard archetypes for these kinds of films.  You have the priest, the distraught grandmother, and the paranormal investigators.  They do their role efficiently, but don’t grapple your mind as much as the ‘horror’ elements of the film.

When it comes to the film’s story and direction, the film felt like a tale of two halves.  For the first 30 minutes of the film, we are introduced to the family, and the basic premise.  You have a boy, falling into a coma for unknown reasons, which seems to be affected by a house that seems to be haunted.  You witness these terrors through the eyes of mother.  With the elements of dark scenes and moody sounds combined with traditional jump scares and quick camera angles, you feel the usual terror you get in horror films.  When the family is finally forced to move, the movie takes a turn that intrigues the mind.  The realization the audience finds out is that the common ‘house is haunted’ scenario turns into a much deeper and darker secret.  The haunting that is happening is because of the boy.  This flips the movie on itself, and the scares turn towards more ‘paranormal’ realm style elements.  What ensues is that you will get even more terrified because of the unpredictability of what is going to happen.  Even with the sloppy script of the introductory elements at this point of the film, the director does a good job in using camera angles, instinctive sounds, shifting props and scenic scoping to create scare tactics.  This helps lead to a worthy climax, as the added twist that happens may either come as a shock or a cop out to the audience.  By the end, you feel like you have in this film thought provoking elements that helps make the movie scarier than a typical film.

The visuals, for the most part, are great.  Outside of the cliché elements of a ‘haunted house’ you have some unusual elements of random scene scares, dark lighting as well as ambient sounds.  The combination makes all feel predictable, but still scary.  Once the film flips itself from these tradition, these elements get twisted and you’re fretting more objective elements, not knowing what the hell will happen.  This creates a great grabbing sensation, as you feel as if these horror archetypes are going to come after you, for real.  The score is unusually great, but it does help add depth to the tone and layer of the ‘frightful’ scenes at a top notch level.

Overall, Insidious is a great horror flick.  There are a lot of traditional elements, but once the film flips tradition, it becomes engaging mentally and emotional.  Decent characters combined with an elusive script, you feel as if you went on a good horrific journey.  I’d recommend this film for horror fans, and a purchase to your movie collection.

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