Further cementing James Wan as a ghoulish advocate for the revival of modern horror. Insidious is overflowing with dismembered phantoms, old-school scares, and heartbreakingly sympathetic performances from its entire cast. Yet, despite all these positives, it’s Wan and writer Leigh Whannell’s clever, fantastical finale that provides the most hope for the future of the genre. Of course, being able to strike up a believable relationship from its two adult leads doesn’t hurt Insidious’s effectiveness either. While it may spend a sizeable chunk of it’s runtime investing in the mental state and connectivity of its characters. The benefit of swapping out a few of its frightening facets for emotional commitment and an empathetic audience heavily outweighs any opinions that the film lacks consistent scares…Please, take it from me, Insidious is plenty terrifying.
Josh (Wilson) and his wife Renai (Bryne) move into a new house with their three children. One day, their son Dalton goes exploring in the attic and falls, hitting his head fairly hard on the floor. Upon sitting up, Dalton notices something spooky in a dark corner of the attic and screams until his parents find him. That night, Dalton falls asleep and doesn’t wake in the morning. After rushing to the doctors, Renai and Josh are informed that Dalton is in a coma and that the cause of it is unknown. A few months later, Renai claims to see apparitions and forces the family to up and move to a new house. When things begin to escalate and become more terrifyingly severe in the new house, they decide to consult the expertise of Josh’s mother and her friend Elise (Shaye), who is somewhat of a ghost hunter. What the family and experts uncover is something dark and brooding.
From the moment Insidious begins, the eerie music and creepy camerawork blend into a disturbing concoction that poison’s the viewer throughout the entire film, until they’re begging for an antidote. The remedy, in a way, is the healing and endearing performances of Insidious’s talented cast. Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Lin Shaye, there is no shortage of relatable characters. Byrne is tenacious while still remaining admirable and Wilson is ferocious, skeptically unforgiving. Every little detail or feeling these two emit to one another or their children is never in question. As for Shaye, her favour and like-ability is unlimited. Even though her character might come off as a bit whacky and obscure. These personality traits seem to work decidedly in her favour.
Director James Wan once again teams up with Leigh Whannell to create a truly unique and terrifying adventure. Seemingly perfecting his dialogue and the disturbing oddities in his craft. Whannell has come a long way since his Saw days and appears to be rounding into impeccable form. As for James Wan, his camerawork and the tremendous demeanour in which he functions behind the scenes is reaching new, dizzying heights. Whannell and Wan are on the fast track to becoming a powerful, intelligent duo not to be trifled with and Insidious magnifies their growing greatness.
Without question, my favourite sequence from Insidious is when Rose Byrne is alone, cleaning the house listening to Nuvole Bianche on a record player. It’s relentlessly unsettling, epically ghastly, and continuously scary for roughly fifteen minutes.
With a soundtrack that puts you on edge and leaves your skin crawling with goosebumps, grand performances, outstanding direction, and a story equally heartfelt and scary. Insidious is nearly faultless in every aspect.
Insidious: 8.5 out of 10.