Sunday, May 29, 2011


Year: 2011
Director: James Wan
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey

Plot: After a couple's eldest son falls into a coma, strange paranormal incidents start to occur in their house. When moving to another house does not help, they turn to a paranormal investigator who tells them that these incidents are connected to their comatose son.

Review: Anyone who remembers Paranormal Activity will acknowledge the creepiness associated with things going bump around the house. More often than not, this style of horror is far more effective in generating scares than blood and gore.

Saw director James Wan reteams with longtime writing partner Leigh Whannell and rope in Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli as producer to bring in their version of the haunted house horror flick. I must say, Insidious is quite scary on the whole. I noticed myself hanging on the edge of my seat waiting for the next scare, even when a lot of times, I could predict the exact moment it would come. It's just the way Wan filmed it, using dim lighting and unique camerawork to create a slow burning and claustrophobic atmosphere that you can see, hear and even feel as you watch the film unfold. The fact that Insidious cost below $2 million to make is amazing, considering how much it costs to make other more bombastic horror films.

For casting, we have Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, essentially B actors but they both turn in excellent performances here. Byrne is more effective as Renai, the distraught mother who carries the burden of worrying for her comatose son and being frustrated by her husband's skepticism over the paranormal occurrences. Wilson plays Renai's husband Josh in a low key way for a majority of the film, but manages to project the right emotion at the right moment. Lin Shaye puts in an interesting performance as Elise, the paranormal investigator. She really looks the part and acts it well. Whannell himself appears as Elise's assistant and manages to generate some funny moments in the film.

Insidious is not without flaws though. The evil spirits that come a calling range between looking like Darth Maul and having porcelain makeup on. The latter is very reminiscent of Wan and Whannell's previous work Dead Silence. Then there's the large title at the beginning and end of the film which reminds me of Drag Me To Hell, which is a bit too old school for me. Plus, some of the stuff explained by Elise need to be taken with a pinch of salt, which is the film's main weakness, as Whannell shouldn't try too hard to explain things until they become a tad ludicrous. But other than that, I had a great scare going through this from start to finish.

If you like the kind of horror flick that creeps under your skin and then jolts you right out of it, Insidious is for you. (3.5/5)

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