April 13, 2011

Filthy Movie Review - Insidious (2011)

Love them or hate them there is no denying that the Box Office monsters of horror over the past few years have been the Saw and Paranormal Activity franchises. Personally I am a big fan of both and frequently revisit them. Now the writer and director team behind Saw, Leigh Whannell and James Wan, and Paranormal Activity, Oren Peli (here in a Producer capacity), have teamed up to bring us spooky things that go bump in the night style flick Insidious. Can a potentially kid-friendly, yes it is rated PG-13, horror movie with this pedigree deliver the goods? Or is it a case of resting on past laurels and delivering a safe movie on autopilot? Well, to save time I will just say that the answer is a resounding yes to the first question. Insidious delivers big time and not even a theater full of kids with verbal diarrhea could spoil it. Good god they tried their hardest to.

Now, I know some folk would expect a few paragraphs of me rattling off plot information. I have never been one for that though. Yes I will give a basic lay of the land outline giving a rough idea of what it is about, I don’t do spoilers though. Even if the film companies will try their hardest to spoil any surprise there may be within with posters and previews that give far too much away. Insidious is definitely one of those movies that the less you know about the more enjoyment you will get from it. The poster artwork for Insidious gives a little too much away, not enough to spoil it for you though. So I will be intentionally brief with regards to the plot in this review.

In Insidious Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne), along with their three young children, move into a large, creepy looking house. With the unpacking not even finished yet items seem to be misplaced or moved about. Of course this is blamed on the kids playing with things and just not putting them back. Over time though events most definitely take a turn for the sinister and Renai starts to question what the hell is going on.
Where Insidious succeeds right off the bat is that it takes a potentially familiar looking set-up and manages to turn it on its head. Even when you are expecting something to happen it will still put the willies up you. It is a genuinely creepy movie that subtly ratchets up the tension the further it progresses, and for everything that you do expect it delivers equally in events you won’t see coming. There was obviously a lot of craft that went into delivering this movie, and more importantly on delivering the scares as this is a genuinely scary movie. It’s been a while since the hairs on the back of my neck have stood up during a film.

If Insidious delivers in the visual and audio department then you might be glad to know that it also has a good solid cast to back it up. The previously mentioned Wilson and Byrne both play out their roles convincingly as well as the young actors playing their children. On top of that though we get treated to a stellar performance from Lynn Shaye who really shines here. The supporting cast are also top-notch, which include some semi-light relief from Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson.

Surely there are some negatives to be found with this movie though? If there are any it would be towards the latter stages where some of the visuals felt a little comical rather than scary. Aside from that though, and even that didn’t spoil it for me, Insidious has turned out to be one of the better horror movies of recent years. A lack of graphic violence or gore in no way diminishes the overall impact of this classic style scary movie. Don’t let the rating put you off or dissuade you in any way, shape or form. Catch it at the theater, if you can avoid the throng of kids that will no doubt be laying in wait for you, or if you prefer wait for it to hit home entertainment. Either way this comes highly recommended from me.

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