Rental Review - Insidious

Insidious (2010), PG-13, 103 minutes - My fiance and I had both heard how creepy Insidious was for a while when we bought it about a year ago.  We picked it up in hopes of having a scary movie night around Halloween.  Unfortunately, our six month old puppy (at the time) didn't agree with the idea of there being quiet time in the house.  Last week we realized that Insidious: Chapter 2 was being released this weekend.  So we figured we should finally make some time to sit down and see what the Insidious was all about.

A couple of years back when Insidious first came out, I had absolutely no desire to see it.  I recognize now that is almost entirely because the trailer and movie posters hailed it as being directed by James Wan, the director of Saw.  As soon as I saw the connection with Saw, I tuned out.  As many who know me could tell you, I'm not big on horror of the slasher/gore variety.  So before anyone else jumps to the same conclusion while reading this, let me tell you now that Insidious isn't bloody at all.  It's a paranormal thriller that gets in its jump-out-of-your-seat moments and is creepy as heck at times, but isn't even close to being a slasher flick.

Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne respectively) and their three children have recently moved into a new house.  Their middle son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), gets curious one day and finds his way into the attic.  While exploring he falls from a ladder, the noise bringing his parents hurriedly to his side.  They decree the attic as off limits to the kids and Dalton is put to bed.  When he doesn't wake up the next morning, they rush him to the hospital where they are told that he has inexplicably fallen into a coma.  After a time, doctors deem him stable enough to be moved home until his status improves.  It is around this time that Renai begins to see and experience strange happenings around the house.  She becomes convinced that the house is haunted, and while he hasn't experienced anything himself, Josh agrees to move the family to a different home.  The occurrences continue at the new house (surprise, surprise) and Renai begins seeking outside help.  Josh is pessimistic until Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), a paranormal investigator and old friend of his mother's, tells them that Dalton's condition is connected to Josh.

Director James Wan definitely has a knack for creating scary films, whether they are bloody or not.  For me, Insidious falls into the same category as another Wan film from earlier this year, The Conjuring.  It is a very creepy haunting/possession story that has its share of jolting moments.  I hadn't heard of a sequel being in the works until a few months ago, but Insidious clearly ends with future installments in mind.  I'm sure that anyone who saw this when it first came out has been expecting this weekend's Chapter 2 for quite some time.  Who knows if we'll have time to fit it in while it is in theaters or if we'll end up waiting a couple of years like we did with this one, but I am curious to see where they go with the story in Insidious: Chapter 2.  I know that I'm a couple of years behind the curve on this one, but I would definitely recommend Insidious to anyone who enjoys paranormal thrillers.











*****SPOILERS*****

- Ty Simpkins looked familiar to me.  I finally realized that he was also the kid in Iron Man 3 earlier this summer.

- I may not have liked Saw, but I did appreciate the Jigsaw face that can been seen over Josh's shoulder on the chalkboard in his classroom.

- The red faced creature/figure that was trying to take over Dalton's body was creepy as hell at first, but when Josh finally found Dalton in 'The Further', I felt like it appeared more puppet-like and much less scary.  The shot of the hooves was especially cheap looking and it lessened the impact of the scariness, at least for me.

- I really liked the fact that Dalton had abilities, but that he wasn't the one causing problems for the family.

- I think that part of the creepiness of this film came from the hauntings that occurred in broad daylight.  Generally events like that are shown happening at night.  This added a layer of paranoia to things.  For a time, it wasn't just a question of whether or not there were hauntings, but if Renai was going crazy or not.

- I don't think that I found this as scary as everyone had told me it was, but I think that is mainly because I saw it at home as opposed to a dark theater.

- Elise's two assistants Specs (Leigh Wannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) were hilarious and a nice touch of levity to an otherwise very seriously toned film.




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