I’ll be frank with you, if it wasn’t for James Wan and Leigh Whannell, I wouldn’t have even checked Insidious out. And honestly, do you blame me? From the outside, it looks like a film to skip. It’s a PG-13 horror film that uses a very recycled story concerning a kid who is possessed. It sounded bland, been there done that and something I had no interest in watching.
But, those names kept calling my attention towards it. How could I pass up a film created by the same people who bought us the original Saw? Being the movie buff that I am, I just couldn’t do it. I had to see it, at least once. And as it turns out, Insidious really isn’t that bad, in fact, it’s quite good and one of the best horror films I’ve seen in a long time.
Insidious tells the story of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and is wife Renai (Rose Byrne). They live a seemingly normal life with their three children; Dalton (Ty Simpkins), Foster (Andrew Astor), and baby Calli. Everything changes for them one night though when Dalton takes a fall and hits his head, landing him in a coma.
Months pass and Dalton’s state is still unchanged. It is then that Renai starts to notice odd occurrences happening around the house. Thinking that their house is haunted, the couple moves homes but before long, it starts happening again. As the horror amplifies, the couple is forced to call in Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), who deals with paranormal activity. She investigates the situation and then reveals to them that it’s not the house that is haunted, it’s Dalton.
This is a very unsettling film, it’s both haunting and unnerving and will leave you pinned to your seat for its entire runtime. Atmospherically, it is also tremendously effective. Dread hangs in the air throughout the whole film and tension wallows in every scene.
Wan’s inspired direction, with the use of clever camera angles and inventive sound effects, make for a truly horrifying and at times harrowing film. The scares here aren’t cheap or tacky, these are legitimate scares. Insidious doesn’t need buckets of blood or inventive gore to scare us, the atmosphere crafted here is more than enough to leave viewers spooked.
This is a film that has overcome all odds. Everything pointed to this one being a dud but it turns out to be an absolutely fantastic horror film. Best horror film of the year? Absolutely! Best horror film of the decade? Quite possibly. Even at a PG-13 rating this is a downright bone chilling film. Throw in a shocking twist ending and the film will leave you wanting to watch it again almost instantly.
The only real downside here is when Dalton’s haunting is explained. At this point, the film delves into an almost cheesy supernatural area that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You’ll go along with it since you’re already so invested in the film but it’s a bit too much and kind of throws off the film as it feels out of place.
Aside from that though, this is a fantastic film. Even on a second viewing, when you know what to expect, it’s still incredibly freaky and amazingly taut. And honestly, part of the reason I’m so impressed with Insidious is because it managed to genuinely scare me. I haven’t been scared by a film in ages. It felt so good to experience that authentic feeling of fear while watching a film, I haven’t had that in so long.
Insidious is an incredibly strong horror film and from the genre, it’s one of my favorites. It took me by surprise and quickly became one of my favorite films of 2011. I love this film, it’s a fantastic example of how you don’t need gruesome gore and buckets of blood to scare audiences. It proves that atmosphere, lighting and sound can combine for some truly frightening and unsettling scenes. If you’ve become bored with what has been a stale horror genre as of late, check out Insidious, you’ll be in for a real treat.
On Blu-Ray, Insidious arrives in an excellent package. Aside from special features, the disc shines. Both audio and video are fantastic, creating an overall engaging experience. Shot digitally, the film sparkles on Blu-Ray with great detail and effective textures. The blacks, which there are a lot of, are handled very well and are solid on all counts. Minor motion blur rears its ugly head here and there but it’s a minor problem in an otherwise fantastic and crisp picture.
Aurally, this is also a knockout. Joseph Bishara’s haunting score is absolutely terrifying. The sound design here is tremendous and it really makes the film a whole lot scarier. The effects mixed with the music all make for a very spooky audio track. It creates an exceptionally frightening atmosphere. Directional sound effects are used perfectly and dialogue is never muddled.
Special features unfortunately disappoint as we don’t really get anything worthy.
- Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar: A ten minute EPK feature that has Writer Leigh Whannell and Director James Wan talking about the plot, characterization, inspirations etc. It’s an interesting feature but at only 10 minutes it’s far too short.
- On Set with Insidious: A quick typical behind-the-scenes piece with cast and crew interviews discussing the making of the film. Coming in at under ten minutes, it’s rather short and feels a bit too rushed.
- Insidious Entities: Another super quick look that shows us how some of the non-human characters were created.
- Previews: Additional Sony titles.
Insidious on Blu-Ray is a must buy, especially for horror fans. I’ve seen the film three times now and still get spooked when I watch it. If you’ve given up on the horror genre and have lost all faith in ever finding a film that will scare you, this is the movie for you. Take a seat, hit the lights and prepare to be frightened. Insidious is a chilling and haunting film that shows, when done right, horror can still scare, even in this day and age.
Insidious is a fantastic example of how you don't need gruesome gore and buckets of blood to scare audiences. It proves that atmosphere, lighting and sound can combine for some truly frightening and unsettling scenes.