Insidious – Review
April 30, 2011 1 Comment
Directed by James Wan. Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins
I’m going to be quite upfront in reviewing this film: the plot is preposterous, it has virtually no original ideas, it is a derivative from all sorts of films we’ve seen before, the end is ludicrous, and yet it scared the living daylight out of me, like very few films have managed to do in the last few years. Just for this reason I would recommend it to every horror/thriller fan out there. It is one of the most skilfully made horror I’ve seen in quite a while.
Director James Wan certainly knows how to create the most tense atmosphere out of a simple scene where a person is walking along a corridor. His mastery in the use of sound, in the use of music (or better, when to use music and when silence is a lot more powerful), the positioning of the camera is to be admired.
Wan clearly knows that the anticipation to an event could be a lot more powerful than the event itself. He knows that the fear of seeing the devil can be a lot scarier than the moment when the devil actually reveals himself.
There are some incredibly tense sequences (a particularly creepy one involving a baby monitor) throughout the whole first part of the film. There’s a constant sense of dread as the camera moves around the empty rooms of the house and when the scares come, they really make you jump, however expected some of them might be.
A lot of time is spent in building some believable characters and making the audience care about them (credits due to both Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne too of course) and it’s good to see the “usual sceptic” changing his mind and actually believing the supernatural.
The film looses a little bit of its edge and its eerie atmosphere once the supernatural get officially introduced, and yet even the reveal of the Devil (which is usually quite a let-down in any other horror films like this one) still manages to be incredibly unsettling. Since the script is a bit obvious and a photocopy of films like Poltergeist (including the Ghostbusters team and the not-so-reveal of the fact that it’s not a haunted house, but a possessed child), and of course the Exorcist, I can only deduce that it’s the direction of Insidious that really makes it work.
Of course, once the film is over and the lights are on, it’ll take you 2 seconds to realize that it was all pretty silly and it’s going to be a lot easier to dismiss it as junk (really scary horror films should really stay with you long after they finish), but while you’re in it I’m sure you’ll be as frighten as a little boy who hears a suspicious noise coming out of his closet at night…