Thursday, May 30, 2013

Insidious (2011)

**This review contains spoilers**

When her oldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) slips into a mysterious coma for three months, Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) urges her husband, Josh (Patrick Wilson) to seek help outside of the medicinal circle. After experiencing a series of bizarre paranormal events at home, Renai pushes Josh to move out of their new house. But the evil presence follows the Lamberts, and Josh’s mother, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) suspects the malevolent entities are targeting Dalton’s unconscious body.

With help from a family friend and experienced paranormal investigator named Elise (Lin Shaye), the Lamberts learn the truth about Dalton’s coma: unknowingly, Dalton used his ability of astral projection to wander into a dimension called The Further during his dreams. But Dalton wandered too far, and his spirit is being held captive by an evil demon in The Further. So it’s not the house (or houses) that’s haunted, Dalton is attracting the evil spirits and the one demon.

Dalton inherited his astral projection abilities from his father, and Elise helping the Lamberts is no coincidence. Lorraine explains Josh’s troubled childhood visions of a ghostly old woman in a wedding dress, who popped up in photos with Josh, inching closer to him after each picture. Lorraine went to Elise for help, so she could save Josh’s spirit.

As the evil demon prepares to take full control of Dalton’s body, Elise comes up with one final solution to save Dalton before it’s too late: Josh must use his astral projection abilities to travel to The Further to rescue Dalton from the demon, and any other spirits, who will try to possess his body.

Saw is a popular choice, but Insidious is my favorite horror film directed by James Wan. The well-placed and ear-splitting scores help, but Wan creates the perfect eerie and spooky atmosphere for Insidious. The jump scares are genuinely surprising, and unlike most mainstream PG-13 horror films, you won’t see them coming from a mile away, and they’re not easy to telegraph.

I love Insidious, but the third act still bothers me. Insidious does a great job of building the suspense to the finale…..and then you actually see the finale. I’m sorry, but the other-worldly garbage in this film just pisses me off. Insidious turns into to some sort of kooky and bizarre ghost film (reminds me of that AWFUL remake for The Fog) during Josh’s rescue mission, and the demon’s borderline cartoonish lair didn’t help anything. The third act feels out of place, it kills all the momentum, and truth be told, the third act almost ruins the movie for me.

Still, for the most part, Insidious is a spine-tingling horror film with a chilling haunting story, excellent tension, and a very solid cast. I still despise the third act, but when Josh returns to the real world, Insidious leaves you wanting more with a great cliffhanger. Usually, I’m skeptical about horror sequels, but James Wan is returning to direct Insidious Chapter II, so I have high hopes for the next Insidious film.

Rating: 9/10

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