Movie review: Insidious (2010)

I heard some good things about horror film Insidious: I heard that it was terrifying, that you’d have sleepless nights over it, that it was the scariest film in years… However after going to watch it, I found the film tedious and predictable and felt that it failed to live up to the hype.

When couple Renai and Josh Lambert and their three children move into their new house, they begin to witness strange things. Their oldest son Dalton makes his way up into the attic after hearing noises, only to fall and bang his head. The next day Josh discovers Dalton has fallen into a coma. While doctors first suspect the bang to the head could have been the cause, after tests they establish this has nothing to do with it. Dalton is medically fine but still in a coma.

Three months pass and Dalton, still deep in the coma, has been transferred home. However there are still strange things happening, and Renai is sufficiently spooked into moving house again. As they are moving into their new home, Renai once again witnesses strange goings on, and in desperation she contacts Elise Reiner, a woman who deals with paranormal activity.

After witnessing the goings on for herself, Elise reveals that it is not the house that is haunted, but it is Dalton. Dalton is accomplished in leaving his physical body and letting is spirit body roam free in the parallel spirit world referred to as ‘the further’. However, because he is unaware he is able to do it, he interprets he journeys as dreams. Unfortunately he has wondered too far and become lost, and now other more malevolent spirits are trying to enter the Dalton’s physical body.

Soon after we discover that Josh is also capable of leaving his physical body, and the third act deals with Josh’s journey into the spirit world, his battles with the demons that reside there, and his search for Dalton’s spirit.

The film does offer a few chilling moments and jumps; however they don’t come thick and fast enough to hold your interest. The film starts very slowly and creeps forwards gaining very little momentum throughout the first hour. And finally the third act of the film based primarily in the spirit world looks like something from a third rate 70’s horror film (i.e. not all that scary).

The acting is great, but it does little to hold together the flimsy and at points downright dull plot. A special mention has to be made to Ty Simpkins who plays Dalton. He does a good job in his role and holds his own next to the older more experienced actors.
Unfortunately there are some weaker members of the cast. For example the two idiots that make up Elise’s team bring some completely unnecessary comedy relief to the film, which completely rips you out of the moment.

The film is promoted as being from the people who brought us the Saw films. Now I’m sure we’ll all agree that the Saw films aren’t groundbreaking, however they have plenty of twists and turns and inevitable (and gruesomely) culminate in a way that you never saw coming.
Unfortunately Insidious is not like this. You can see the predictable ending creeping towards you from miles away, and when you finally get there you feel somewhat short-changed.

Overall I would say Insidious is worth a viewing. You’ll get your guaranteed jumps and a scare or two, but fans of the genre shouldn’t go in with high expectations.

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