Over the last ten years the whole Horror genre has been dominated by your traditional splatterfest and slasher movies with films such as Wrong Turn, Cabin Fever and Hostel seemingly dominating the mainstream market. But obviously the biggest franchise in these Noughties gorefests was Saw, spawning a total of seven movies in yearly succession since the original’s initial release in 2004. However the masterminds behind the Saw series James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s latest offering to the horror genre Insidious is a very big change of pace from their usual material and a very welcome one at that.
Insidious follows the Lambert family as they move into their new home with their three children, but as you can probably guess, all is not as it seems and gradually paranormal happenings start to occur throughout the house. It is not until the family’s oldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a mysterious coma that things really begin to take off throughout their home, the disturbances become more violent and terrifying so the family brings in Elise (Lin Shaye), a spirit medium from Dalton’s father Josh’s (Patrick Wilson) past.
Parallels are obviously going to drawn between Insidious and Paranormal Activity but I would like to dispel these quite quickly, while the horror is more of that vein the first half of the movie it detaches itself from the typical things that go bump genre when it moves into the third act. However I have seen this third act criticised for being too outlandish but I disagree, I think the film does well to go beyond what I think people were expecting, without giving too much of the plot away, the world that is created to represent the ghostly realm known as The Further is very nicely put together as well being very creepy. The ghosts that the film introduces are also very well done, almost sitting on a line between ghosts and zombies as well as having a bit of Regan from The Exorcist thrown in as well, but of course even if you have good creatures if they are used poorly this devalues them, but I think Insidious gets it spot on with this. Insidious also does seem to stray away from the horror clichés, one scene in particular when Dalton’s mother Renai (Rose Bryne) is moving through the house after seeing the spectre of a child has a very nice conclusion that moves away from the obvious.
But while I am full of praise for this film I will say it does have some very silly moments that are an annoying juxtaposition when you try to get immersed into the atmosphere, one or two scenes just leave you thinking ‘urgh’ because of how ridiculous or out of place they feel. This frustrates me so much since what Leigh and Whannel do well in Insidious, they do so very well, but these scenes that just stick out like a sore thumb really do hurt the flow and leave the viewer with a bad taste in their mouth.
Insidious is a fantastic addition to the horror genre and one of the best takes on the genre in the last few years, while not being completely original at times it does have creativity in spades compared to most modern horrors. It is a very well put together movie with good acting, good story, good pacing and some brilliant scares; it has nearly everything where it should be. But as I mentioned there are just a few moments that just snap you right out of the atmosphere that the film is building and bring you right out of it and leaving you thinking what the hell or cringing. But even with these certain scenes included Insidious is still a very tidy and, by current standards, is a triumph of the genre, definitely a must see for anyway who is a fan of horror movies or just fancies a good scare. I have heard some people had sleepless nights after viewing this film and honestly I can see why.
Good: Fantastic atmosphere and scare that glue you too your seat
Bad: Those few moments that just ooze ridiculousness