Friday, 13 May 2011

Insidious - contains spoilers

Justify FullWednesday night is movie night but on occasion we do splash out and treat ourselves to a midweek dinner/cinema trip. The Nerdy Trio was depleted by one therefore Hilts and McQueen set off to see a scary film about what we thought was a freaky house and a possessed child.

PLOT: Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) fail in their parental duties and let one of their kids play in a darkened attic. Dalton falls off a ladder and finds himself in a coma. Three months later Dalton is still in said coma and life has gone on with the added bonus of spooky stuff happening. After a visit from a priest Renai resorts to more proactive methods to get to the bottom of proceedings and seeks the help of Elise the knower of exposition. It transpires that Dalton is a gifted traveller which allows his soul to leave his body at night and go wandering around the Astral Plane. Dalton’s soul wandered too far into The Further and is being held captive by a demon who wants to get into Dalton’s body and wreak havoc amongst the world. Luckily for Dalton, Josh remembered that he also has the gift of travelling just in time for the third act. Josh goes into the Astral Plane and wanders around The Further in order to find Dalton which he does with extreme ease. Josh is chased by what can only be described as Helena Bonham-Carter on her way to an audition for Miss Havisham. There is a twist so obvious it could barely be called a curve. END PLOT

I am a great believer in the notion that the less violence found in a horror film the scarier it usually is as it relies on jumps and scares which do not involve an underwear model running away from a lumbering retard with a kitchen knife.

Insidious manages to rely on such scares and jumps for the 1st act of the film. Once the creepy happenings begin they do build at quite an alarming rate and I will admit that there were two people in the screen hiding behind their coats.

The plot trundles on in normal fashion with an overemotional mother and doubting father. In the 2nd act the father gets on board with the notion of Astral Planes and the inexplicably named The Further and everything grinds to a glaring halt. Insidious stopped being scary the exact moment the dude from Saw (also the writer) drew the demon who had kidnapped Dalton’s soul. It was a gay Darth Maul. I noticed it. Hilts noticed it. The cinema noticed it. In that extended shot of a sketched Darth Maul the tension left the cinema and we all went into bemused giddy mode.

I don't know either Patrick Wilson. I don't know

We were then treated to a round table meeting with Darth Maul popping up behind several of the characters in what became an equal part unintentionally boring and unintentionally funny 2nd Act. The laughter created by Darth Maul broke up the boredom of the back story into Josh’s traumatic childhood.

In the 3rd Act we are introduced to The Further which is an eerie place filled with smoke machines, candles and red lighting. It was such a camp setting I was half expecting Meatloaf to burst out through the smoke and serenade poor bemused Patrick Wilson. Darth Maul was also listening to some music played on a ukulele. Or something.

The cast all played it straight with Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey all doing a good job. The problem was their serious performances clashed with the campness of The Further, Darth Maul and the general tackiness of the finale and just made them look silly much to the audiences amusement.

I will admit that I did like the idea of the dad being the hero as usually when there are kids involved in a horror film the dad is either nowhere to be found, totally useless or dies and it's the mum who saves the day. It was a refreshing change.

The (non) twist came and the screen cut to black only for the word INSIDIOUS in big red Gothic style letters to flash onto the screen complete with screeching violins. It created a rare moment of cinema bonding as the fifteen people in screen 7 all stood and made eye contact with each other in a silent WTF was that moment of wondering then we all left the cinema in fits of giggles.

The film is written and directed by the two guys that brought us the original Saw which is a film that I do hold in quite high regard - although I have not nor will I ever watch any of the sequels as it became part of a horror craze that I cannot stand. It was a solid effort but it missed the mark as a serious supernatural horror and it took itself too seriously to pull off the Drag Me To Hell style humour.

Insidious starts off with so much promise - the scares are genuine to the extent I was actually wondering if I would make it until the end of the film but once it lost its way it never recovered.

Insidious pulls of the rare feat of being terrifying, boring and hilarious all at the same time. You should see it in the cinema, preferably with the crowd I did and you will have a great time. It gets an 8/10 - a great, if somewhat baffling, cinema experience.


  1. Sounds like you enjoyed it for the most part, it does have the weird tonal thing going on, quick jarring changes in tone. Still I was fairly impressed with it as whole, glad you like it!

  2. It's a pity it couldn't hold the tension as I really would have been terrified although I think I enjoyed the fun factor too!

    I was impressed and I liked it. It will be interesting to see what Whannell/Wan can come up with next (provided it isn't Saw!)

  3. good write up but dose not sound like something i would like. now gun-smoke that one i can get into. lol gb

  4. thanks Roy - if you don't enjoy this type of film I would stay away!

    Thanks for reading. K :-D

  5. '... an underwear model running away from a lumbering retard with a kitchen knife'. In that one sentence you have pretty much summed up the whole horror genre!!!!
    I'm with you on less being more in horror as we've said in the past. I actually want to see this as it looks half way decent. Like how you say it is scary, boring, and hilarious...that is feat for any movie to achieve!!
    Your 'mundane Rambling' seems to be attracting a few more followers too!

  6. More followers?! My readers must have low standards lol

    It is such a fun movie - you should check it out if you can squeeze it in