Insidious

4 04 2011

TERRIFYING JUMPS, BUT DOESN’T STICK

The first major scare that Insidious gives the audience was the most frightened I’ve ever been in a movie theatre. However, the movie only gets more terrifying from that point onward.

The plot is similar to Paranormal Activity. A seemingly normal family, the Lamberts, moves into a new house and quickly becomes tormented by strange events: doors opening, boxes moving around, and other standard horror movie material. The creepiness is accentuated by the house’s extraordinary number of windows, doorways, and (of course) an attic.

If you see this when you look in a mirror, you might be possessed

After venturing into this attic, one of the young Lambert boys is stricken by a mysterious coma. The doctors (of course) have no idea how to cure him, so he is sent back home under close medical supervision.

This is when things get weird: Renai and Josh, the parents, begin to see strange figures around their house. Upon confrontation, these people disappear, or run away. Josh, the self-described ‘voice of reason’, tells Renai she is crazy, while both Renai – and the audience – know that there is some malevolent force at work.

Eventually, they agree to move out. When the events continue to happen in their new house, they reach the uncomfortable conclusion that it is their son, Dalton, who is haunted.

After this point, the movie becomes progressively more supernatural. However, Insidious does an admirable job of keeping the audience informed. The explanations are far from credible science, but at least they make the movie a little more believable.

Insidious movie

The creepiness seeps from nearly every scene. From the screechy, opening title screen, to a climax that may give the audience post-traumatic-stress-disorder, Insidious is a thoroughly frightening movie.

Much of this credit must go to the director, James Wan (known for his ‘Saw’ movies), who has a knack for creating suspense. When the camera inexplicably focuses on a rotating ceiling fan, we suddenly believe something awful is about to happen. Whether or not something actually happens is not always important: Wan is good at keeping us guessing.

The one fault I have with Insidious is that it didn’t stick with me after I left the theatre. I was extremely absorbed during the course of the movie, but any fear that I had was quickly extinguished the minute it was over. This may, in fact, be a positive.

Regardless, Insidious did not have quite the same psychological effect as Paranormal Activity. After watching the latter movie, all I wanted to do was go home and watch cartoons with the lights on.

That being said, Insidious is a fantastic horror movie. Simply put, it provides far more breathtaking scares than many of its predecessors. The eeriness pervades every scene, and the jolts of panic will leave you gripping the person beside you.