By Brett Mullins
Have you ever wondered what would occur if the core elements of Black Swan and Paranormal Activity were mixed together with an added dash of classic and Japanese horror themes? The result is the disturbingly wonderful haunted house ride of Insidious.
Renai, Josh and their three children are beginning to settle into their new home. Dalton, the oldest of the children, explores the cause of a curious noise emanating from the attic. While pulling the light switch, he steps on a rotten rung of a ladder, which proceeds to break under the weight, and the child comes crashing to the ground. Renai and Josh doctor his wounds and tuck him into bed that evening. The following morning, they discover Dalton in a coma-like state, which cannot be explained by his doctors. Henceforth, a series of unexplainable events occur to the family, leading them to move houses and enlist the help of a psychic in pursuit of answers regarding their son.
This film could be best described as a cinematic version of ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ in so far that it incorporates several successful themes previously employed by other widely known films, such as, The Matrix, The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Crow, just to name a few. These borrowed themes manifest to form a rather entertaining scarefest; however, much like ‘Frankenstein’s Monster,’ this film has been rejected by a number of audiences and prominent critics.
The cast and crew of Insidious could easily be described as an ‘all star lineup.’ Director James Wan, best known for his work with the Saw franchise, does a superb job as his attention to detail resonates throughout the film. Leigh Whannell, also from the Saw franchise and Wan’s film school friend, served as the screenwriter for the film. The film’s producer is Oren Peli, the writer/director of Paranormal Activity. Josh, the husband, is portrayed by Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy, Little Children). Renai is played by Rose Bryne (28 Weeks Later, Knowing). Dalton is portrayed by Ty Simpkins (Little Children). Needless to say, this crew is rather qualified.
Despite such a talented cast and crew, this film has one noticeable flaw: the majority of supernatural events are not adequately explained, especially those during the first half of the film. This does not hinder the experience of the film, mainly, because the audience will be too engaged in the wildly evolving story to even care.
Outside of that seemingly logical detour, this film is nothing but amazing. It is able to build tension with ease and enhance it with the occasional interjection of comic relief. Insidious is the triumph of this well assembled cast and crew.
By Cal Wayne
I cannot say that I've ever felt this way way about any modern horror movie, but I did leave my viewing of Insidious feeling, well, shocked. I don't say this because the movie contains overly-grotesque horror (it doesn't), or because the plot was both intricate and ingenius (it wasn't), I say this because I had never seen anything quite like it. I don't mean to sound like a pretentious ass hole when I say that Insidious is a modern work of art. It is both over and underwhelming. And I know how this sounds, and I know how this is, but you really have to experience it, because I can't explain beautiful things without systematically destroying them with ugly words and sentences.
This movie makes you jump from start to finish, like, I mean a lot. It's that kind of movie, and it will make even the hardened horror movie veteran flinch from time to time. As the movie progresses, I felt an un-deniable feeling that this movie may have literally been written on the fly. There's just so much random shit that happens, and it doesn't even tie in all that well. It's almost as if they just threw in new ideas scene after scene without taking the time to really make them fit, but, here's the thing, it doesn't even fucking matter. It doesn't matter because there's a lot to be said about a scitzophrenic horror movie that actually knows how to scare an audience. There's just so many random elements of great horror thrown into a cluster-fuck of scary goodness.
It's really a cool, epic, scary movie; and I think almost anyone can appreciate it. I mean, it scared me, legit, and I don't scare, mannnnnnn.