Thursday, April 7, 2011

Film Review - INSIDIOUS (2011)

In Insidious, a family moves into a home, and then your standard, haunted-house, weird things start happening. Then one of the children falls into an inexplicable coma, and then weirder things happen. And then the disappointing second half of the movie happens only to be somewhat redeemed at the end.

Insidious is a decent but unmemorable scary movie.
It had a few, genuinely spine-tingly moments. But for the most part, Insidious relies too heavily upon "gotcha!" moments. You know... those moments when nothing happens... and then suddenly something pops up at you from nowhere! Those kinda scares are cheap and require very little effort. How do I know? Because I can pull off a "gotcha" moment. Don't get me wrong, they can be (and were at times) mighty effective (The first "big" scare involves an unexpected face, and it caused a big jump) but like tapping someone's shoulder who isn't expecting it, the feelings of being scared are quickly forgotten.

There are a few terrific bits and visuals (with the spirits or demons or whatever the hell they were) that were downright eerie, and those took their time. Those scares came from a sense of impending doom or creepy strangeness. (There was a really great bit with a little boy dancing.) Those were fun.

The second half of Insidious tries too hard to explain what happened. I just don't think that much exposition is effective with horror movies. You don't want to be too specific because the audience has trouble relating. Haunted houses work. Being in a haunted, spooky place can happen to you. Yes, it's crazy predictable and cliche', but it works. (Spoiler alert) Demons haunting your family and wanting to invade your body because you have the ability to astrally project... Doesn't work as much.

And when we see the really evil demon that's causing the ruckus in his lair... Well, that was kind of embarrassing for everyone involved.

Other notes... The cast was pretty good, but I expected a better movie given Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are the leads. They do a serviceable job... The score was overbearing to the point of comedic at times, and it robbed from some very spooky atmospheric moments... Why was the opening credit sequence long?

Overall, we rate Insidious 6.5 out of 10... Heads of Lettuce

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