Insidious (2010)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 68%
Overall Rating
Ranked #571
...out of 22,328 movies
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Connections: Insidious

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. --TMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: July 13, 2017
How many times have you seen a trailer for a horror movie, got excited about it, and then saw it was rated PG-13 and wrote it off? While I'm sure their main objective was casting off the torture-porn stereotype from kicking off the Saw franchise, Leigh Whannell and James Wan wanted to prove that while it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, you didn't need to have massive amounts of blood and tits to make a successful horror movies.

The Lamberts have just moved into a new house and they couldn't be more excited. With her two rambunctious sons and a rather cranky infant daughter, Renai's looking forward to the relative peace while everyone is at school so she can work on her music. Unfortunately, peace is not in the cards for her; their very first night in the house, her son Dalton is exploring their new attic when he slips off a ladder and knocks his head hard on the ground. He seems to be alright, however, the next morning when his father, Josh, goes to wake him up, the boy won't budge. Indeed, three months later he's still in a coma and his family is beginning to crack under the pressure, but things are about to be so much worse. It starts out small, things moving around and unexplained voices on the baby monitor, but before long she's repeatedly seeing full blown apparitions and finding bloody hand prints on Dalton's bed sheets. At wit's end, she begs Josh to move out of the new house, but even when he acquiesces her the entities move right along with them, and it's quickly becoming apparent that they are very interested in Dalton.

Like I said, director Wan and screenwriter Wannell had a mission in mind, and they proved they knew what they were doing. Insidious is all about mixing suspense and tension without wasting time to get the explicit apparitions. It's a mid-tempo balance that worked exceedingly well, and has since become something of a trademark of Wan. Sure, there's no question that a movie is scarier when your mind is free to fill in the blanks, but movies that just jump right into the action are still a lot of fun. This movie blends the two approaches perfectly and the fact that the overall cause of the haunting, while a simple and well-known concept, hasn't been seen in too many movies certainly helps as well. Plus, they went back to basics with the score, using the screeching violins and pounding discordant piano chords that proved so effective in the sixties and seventies.

I do have to admit that all of that raving is for the first two acts. You see, they did hit a bit of a snag during the climax. While I'm not going to go into details of course, I will say that the movie veered off into a cheesy horror format that undermined the creepy nature the first hour built up so well. While the collateral damage wasn't too extreme for my opinion of the film to take much of a hit, there are plenty of other movie goers who felt it ruined the entire movie, so your results may vary.

The filmmakers can't get all the credit for the movie's success, as they had quite a lot of help in front of the camera. Carrying the majority of the movie was Rose Byrne as Renai. Considering she's the sole character in contact with the entities throughout most of the running time, her performance was instrumental to keeping it afloat. Thankfully, she was more than up to the task and her borderline breakdown was done perfectly. Meanwhile, Patrick Wilson provided a perfect foil for her. Josh handles the stress of his son's coma and his wife's hysteria by retreating inward, which strengthened Byrne's performance not only as a counter, but also as another source of stress for her. Finally, Lin Shaye excelled as the medium hired to help the Lamberts through their ordeal. Although she had a much smaller roll than Byrne, she was no less important to the overall film.

Insidious is great. Our boys wanted to make the point that you can make an effectively scary horror movie without throwing buckets of blood at the audience, and damned if they didn't pull it off. 8/10.
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