johnlink ranks INSIDIOUS (2010)

I watched this movie last night. I go to write the review and realize I can’t remember what it is called. I’m sure it is called SINISTER. But no, that is a 2012 Ethan Hawke vehicle. POSSESSION? Nope. 2012. Kyra Sedgwick. MAMA? No. Too recent. Look… my point is that sometimes it is hard to keep track of all of these one-word horror movies when most of them are from the creators of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or SAW or some other moderate hit. I do absolutely remember, well once I remembered the title anyway, but I remember that INSIDIOUS was one of the ones which people said was actually well done. I’m always seeking worthwhile horror, so I’m all for giving something a shot which comes recommended.

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I watched INSIDIOUS (2010) on 5.26.13. It was my first viewing of the film.

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star as parents to three kids who have moved into a new home. Strange things are afoot in the house, and it is obvious very quickly that the house is haunted. They ruin the first act twist with the logline on the cover of the box, so I think it is fair to say here, with only mild spoiler worry, that they move houses so we quickly learn it wasn’t the house that was haunted, but their son.

Spooky ghosty stuff happens. And I don’t mean that flippantly. There truly is some spooky scary stuff going on. The atmosphere which is built feels genuine. Everyone acts appropriately freaked out, and the jump scares are as well executed as we could hope. When the movie jumps into a dreamscape there is the potential of becoming silly, but Patrick Wilson plays it straight and keeps us engaged. There are plenty of moments which approach silliness or could lead to eye-rolling. But, for me anyway, the movie never quite crossed that line (until the finale… more on that in a minute).

INSIDIOUS knows when to slow down and when to pick up speed. There is comic relief at the right moments, but it doesn’t last too long. In terms of building a horror movie, writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan do it right. I’m always skeptical about PG-13 horror movies because they are usually cash grabs which aren’t particularly aimed at adults. What is impressive about INSIDIOUS is just how intense it is within the restrictions of PG-13. We assume something might be kiddie fare just because there isn’t blood, no sex, and not much violence. But INSIDIOUS brings the power of a scary image and holds it.

I’m not a huge fan of the three who came in to help the family for the end of the film. The two comic relief guys are ok, though there have been better. The medium, played by Lin Shaye doesn’t do a great job of convincing me of her worth. The script and the strength of the performances from the family really do elevate this movie and prevent it from unraveling into absurdity.

One last point, and this will be as spoiler free as possible: I really don’t like the ending. There is a generic horror-movie stinger which feels tacked on. Writer Whannell says he had a list of cliches posted as he wrote to avoid them. He must have thrown the list away when he got to the end. Seeing as their is a sequel with all major players involved, I’m sure it will be explained away as a dream or a vision. Regardless, I was wholly satisfied with the ingenuity of INSIDIOUS until the last minute.

That said, this is worth seeking out for even marginal horror fans. This is one that gets it right.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 7; BONUS: 1

Haunting, powerful score by Joseph Bishara. One of the best horror scores I’ve heard in a very long time. The dissonant sounds absolutely accent the action in all the right ways.

6+8+6+7+1= 28

FINAL SCORE: 7

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~ by johnlink00 on May 27, 2013.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks INSIDIOUS (2010)”

  1. Glad you liked it. Maybe not as much as I did, but still 🙂

  2. So want to see this one! glad to hear your voice added to the positive reviews

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