Sunday, 22 May 2011


Insidious [Review]

Opinion: B+

Great reminiscence of the classic horror genre of the 80's with a strong exploitation of atmosphere and space and influential strings soundtrack that is bound to send down loads of icy cold chills down your spines. Insidious isn't flawless (which horror film isn't anyway, it's easy to go supernatural without responsibilities) but it's definitely the best entertaining classic fright fare since Sami Raimi's Drag Me to Hell.

The writer-director team behind SAW and the filmmakers of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY redefine the haunted house genre in INSIDIOUS. This horror film is the terrifying story of a family who shortly after moving discover that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to discover that it was not their house that was haunted.

With James Wan directing and Leigh Whannell writing, the dynamic duo from the original SAW movie is back to spooky business with a new collaborative horror project. Surprisingly moving away from the modern trend of blood-gore fest, they have dwelled into the good old classic horror genre and played it well.

They've proven to have a knack at horrifying people.

Great use of space and shadows to instill intensifying atmosphere, James Wan knows how to wind up tensions before unleashing terror upon his audience. The first half preps us with a psychological horror stance as the haunted house begins to build its presence firmly for us to get to know the interior designs well enough to want to exit it immediately.

This is largely in credit to the wonderful lighting as well as the bleached out colour treatment that the film has adopted. The atmosphere is eerie and unsettling in this film, instantly creating a nemesis out of their new house that Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) have just moved into. It is so easy to push the blame to the house for everything bad that's happening (and about to happen).

But of course, things aren't as simple as we think.

Filled with twists and surprises especially from the second half onwards, nothing seems to be predictably easy as the scares never cease to take seasoned horror fans aback and keep their eyes glued to the silver screen without blinking them. The ghoulish roller-coaster thrill ride begins somewhere in the middle of the film and never stops until the end.

This is only possible with a good establishment in the first half, which Wan clearly achieved.

Insidious opens with fleeting dark images of empty spaces in between interiors and furniture, which keeps the audience looking out for any abnormality constantly. However, as the film progresses, complacency begins to set in and that is where Wan superbly manipulates with spot on timing.

When the first scare greets, everybody will be shocked and terrified.

I can't reveal much about the plot and scares, as they are the essence of the film. But good performance by Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson did aid in accentuating the spook galore. Also worthy of a compliment is Lin Shaye as the supernatural material expert. Not only did her role help to decipher some of the mysteries, her performance rendered a great deal of tension and atmosphere with her eerie whispers and wide eye stares into dark spaces.

Insidious is made on a budget, but it's a case that shows that quality comes not necessarily only with financial prowess. Paranormal Activity has proven it prior and Insidious is now performing similar. James Wan and Leigh Whannell both exhibited great flair for the horror genre and I'm looking forward to more from them in the future.

Don't worry, you don't need to sever and outrage any body parts to enjoy Insidious.

Just your senses.


  1. Excellent review and I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. This movie creeped me out in many places, but also had an element of dark humor. I thought it interesting that they went for many of the cliches found in haunted house/possession films, but that they gave them a unique edge. The cast was terrific as well.

  2. Thank you so much Melissa!

    Yes, the good old cliches were mixed about with some modern scare techniques to give rise to something new. Yes, cast was great and it was also nice to see Leigh Whannell playing Specs (I realised I missed this out in my opinion above)

    I heard that there's an after credit scene, I missed that out, wondering if you caught it?

  3. Did not catch the after credit scene, either, I'm sorry to say. I had no idea Leigh Whannell was Specs. Cool!


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