Genuinely scaring people is an art form. A successful horror movie needs to keep its audience on their toes, fearful of the unknown and what’s to come. This means every film in the crowded genre is trying to do at least one thing different. So, what’s different about Insidious – one of the most wildly successful horror franchises of the modern era with the three films raking in an impressive $370 million at the box office – then?
Well, Cinema Blend recently interviewed Leigh Whannell and Lin Shaye, writer and star of the upcoming Insidious: The Last Key, and here’s what the former explained:
“I mean for me, the first thing I think of is The Further, which is like, when we did that first movie we wanted to do kind of a classic ghost movie, that’s something that James [Wan] and I have always loved, your classic haunted house/ghost film.
But we wanted to have at least one new element of it and we felt that the astral projection element and this idea of this netherworld called The Further, this sort of black void filled with all of these spirits is something that we hadn’t really seen in films before, so for me I find that to be the real point of difference with these movies. It’s what separates Insidious from other haunted house franchises like The Conjuring.”
I hadn’t really thought of The Further in these terms before, but Whannell’s right in that I genuinely can’t think of another horror film that does anything similar (if you can, please let us know in the comments). Sure, it’s not uncommon for horror to have ghosts or demons emerging from places removed from reality, but no movie explores the astral realm to the same extent as the Insidious films do.
Thankfully, we’ll get another peek into The Further in just a couple of days, when Insidious: The Last Key releases on January 5th. It’ll give Shaye’s parapsychologist her most personal haunting yet – her own childhood home. Apparently, this experience will take her deeper into the void than we’ve seen before.
Somewhat ironically, January 5th is itself famed as a cinematic void for releases, with the first weekend of a new year often for studios dropping films out their door with a minimum amount of fuss. The Last Key was already unceremoniously booted from its original release date of October 20th, but was replaced by another Blumhouse Productions effort, the well-received smash Happy Death Day. Here’s hoping that this combination of factors doesn’t spell disaster for the Insidious franchise, as I still think it has legs yet.