Film Review: Insidious (2011)

6 May

Insidious film reviewFrom the makers of Saw and Paranormal Activity, Insidious looked to be a half decent horror film. I wasn’t expecting anything too groundbreaking but it seemed as though it would be quite jumpy and scary.

Although I did enjoy the film it wasn’t anything spectacular and had quite a slow start. It seems the writer and director (Leigh Whannell and James Wan) are attempting to pay homage to the classic horror films, such as Nosferatu (1922 horror film) with the shadowy creature in the bedroom looking much like the vampire shadow creeping upstairs in Nosferatu and the traditional haunted house movies such as Poltergeist.

The more modern twists creep in with the revelation that the house isn’t haunted it is infact the family’s son.

(Next part contains plot spoilers)

Dalton Lambert suddenly falls into a coma, his parents can’t get an explanation from doctors as to how it could have happened. As the traditional haunted house story goes, his mother Renai begins to see and hear unusual things in the house. When her other son, Foster, tells her that Dalton walks around on a night Renai knows that there’s a presence in the house. The family finally decide to move and everthing seems to be ok until she sees a child running around in her new house. With the help of her mother in law she calls in a woman who deals with paranormal happenings, Elise. She explains that Dalton can astral project (meaning he can ‘travel’ outside his physical body) and that somehow his spiritual body has become lost in ‘the further’. This has left Dalton’s physical body open to spirits and demons who can posses him. Elise explains to Dalton’s father, Josh, that he too can astral project but when he was young he had his memories suppressed by her as he too was haunted by an old woman who showed up in photo’s with him. In order to save Dalton, Josh must have an out of body experience and bring his son back from ‘the further’. After making his way into the spirit world Josh’s battles the demons to bring his son back. In a very predictable ending, just as everything seems fine, Elise spots something in Josh. The film ends with a photo of Josh as the old woman that’s always haunted him and with Elise dead.

What could have been a genuinely scary horror film was seriously let down by the slow areas and the downright silly parts. For example when Josh travels into ‘the further’ the majority of the spirits are portrayed as dolls, if done right this would have been creepy however the scenes just seemed to lack a certain something making the whole situation look silly. Another two characters which really let the film down were the two men in Elise’s team Specs and Tucker. You knew as soon as you heard these names that the characters were going to bring nothing to the film but a few cheap laughs. Had the characters been more serious they would have added to the film, sadly this wasn’t the case.

Ironically Specs was played by the films writer Leigh Whannell, personally I think he should have spent more time perfecting the writing then trying to add comedy to the film.

As you’d expect from the makers of Saw and Paranormal Activity, the film has been left wide open for a second part. After all there have been seven Saw films and two Paranormal Activity films with a third in the pipeline.

In all I definitely enjoyed the film and would say it’s worth a watch, I would watch it again. If you see this film don’t expect to be scared senseless. There were moments that genuinely scared me and I did find myself wanting to look away but there were also moments that left me thinking ‘What the hell?’ in sheer confusion as to why horror and quite frankly cheesy comedy had been combined (this should be left to films like Shaun of the Dead, which aren’t trying to be scary). It was a good attempt at pure horror instead of all the gore that Saw movies bring, however sometimes people should just stick to what they know.  Rest assured after seeing this film you’ll still be able to get a good nights sleep.

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