A family discovers that dark spirits have invaded their home after their son inexplicably falls into an endless sleep. When they reach out to a professional for help, they learn things are a lot more personal than they thought.
It's not wholly original, but it works because the people involved **make** it work, first and foremost, James Wan.
_Final rating:★★★½ - I really liked it. Would strongly recommend you give it your time._
Tiptoe Through the Tulips.
Insidious is directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell. It stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Andrew Astor and Leigh Whannell. Music is scored by Joseph Bishara and cinematography by John R. Leonetti.
The team behind "Saw" and "Dead Silence" bring us "Insidious", one of the finest exponents of the haunted house movie in the modern era. Of course that doesn't count for much with those not particularly struck by the formula, but it does seem to be one of the very few horror sub-genre movies to come out with better than average appraisals.
Of course it's not perfect, few films, especially in horror world, can stand up and come through unscathed by critics and fans alike, yet for the like minded adults who can set the mood and channel themselves into the boo jump and creepy atmosphere world wrung out by Wan and Whannell, then this is the bomb.
Much has been made of the shift in the last third, where the film brings in Astral Projection as its reasoning for the pant soiling previously unleashed. Undeniably the film runs away with itself, goes too far and the last 15 minutes are a chaotic mess of bold ideas and inadequate staging. However, it's interesting to note how often the haunted house movie in recent times gets accused of not bringing something new to the table, something thrown at the wonderful "Woman in Black" that followed "Insidious"down the pipe. Here the makers offer up something different, true, it hasn't worked in the way they or the hardened genre fans would have liked, but personally I found on second viewing it is forgivable. It's like riding your favourite Big Dipper, you enjoy the spins and upside down scream moments, but just tolerate the flat standard drive stretches of track while your heart tries to steady its beat.
When "Insidious" is hitting its heights it's utterly thrilling and unnerving, paced to perfection, it builds from whispered voices on a baby monitor to entities invading the home of the poor Lambert family. The mystery element is strong, just what do they want? Why is son Dalton in a coma but the medical boffins have no idea why? How come the entities have followed the Lambert's even when they move house? The latter of which is refreshing to see in the screenplay, it's a logical move but so often it's not done in other horror movies. The jumps are nicely placed throughout and a number of scenes are so freaky they get under your skin and stay there for some time - seriously, I don't think I'll ever be able to listen to "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" again without my blood being chilled. The use of photographs and mirrors bring the goose flesh to the skin, while Lin Shaye's arrival as the paranormal physic, and the subsequent use of a gas mask, keep things ticking on the freaky deaky scale (though once the gas mask scene hits it's where the pic slightly falls away).
It borrows ideas and takes its tonal cues from other horror movies, definitely, and the second half doesn't live up to the promise of the first; hell I'll even concede that a certain entity is badly designed, but it does have something new to offer the formula, it's also well performed by the cast, that itself is a rarity. It hasn't resonated with all, but it was a monster hit at the box office, making nearly $85 million in profit. The market for a good haunted house spooker is always open, so Insidious, in spite of its second half irks, sits in the top draw with the best of them. 8/10