Insidious (2010)

Insidious (2010)Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Angus Sampson, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor, J. LaRose

Directed by James Wan

Written by Leigh Whannell

In 2004 director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell introduced the world to their surprise indie hit Saw, which unexpectedly launched a new wave of horror films and has also managed to spawn many sequels since. Despite the fact that Wan’s follow-up studio films, Dead Silence and Death Sentence, did not receive the same critical praise as his debut film did, Wan and Whannell have demonstrated with their latest entry that they are forces be reckoned with as Insidious proves that it this year’s strongest horror hit.

The film begins with Josh and Renai (respectively played by Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne), a married couple, struggling with normal martial problems as they move into an old Victorian home with their three children. After a few days Renai notices there is something not quite right with the new house, and after their son, Dalton (Simpkins), falls into a mysterious coma, it becomes evident there might be something sinister and insidious lurking in the family’s new home. Creaking doors, nail-biting tension and popcorn-choking moments ensue.

Although reviewers are notorious for throwing around cheap and self-promoting blurbs such as “this film is a must see” or “this is the best horror film seen in years,” Insidious is one of the rare cases in which every triumphant statement is in fact valid because it is truly an intense film that will be known by many as this generation’s Poltergeist.

Insidious (2010)Insidious starts off with a bang as Wan shows his skillful eye behind the camera as he sets in motion many creepy setpieces early on in the film. Considering the young director has had the reputation of being the catalyst to “torture porn,” it is satisfying to see Wan prove to critics that a creaking door can be just as frightening as a man holding a bloody knife. Many moments scream with innovation; yet, the film is able to respectfully pay homage to well-respected horror filmmakers as well. There are subtle nods to Poltergeist, Amityville Horror and The Entity, and Wan’s style of directing is reminiscent of early Brian De Palma, most particularly De Palma’s 1980 thriller Dressed to Kill.

Writer/actor Whannell also offers his own unique spin to the haunted house story as he takes something seen time and time again and reinvents the entire sub-genre by simply writing the script from a horror fan’s point of view. It is astonishing to say, but Whannell has expertly made sure that the film avoids any horror clichés whatsoever. Every jumper in the film is a genuine scare. There are no cats jumping out of closets or characters jumping out their skin from just a simple tap on the shoulder from their spouse. Also, when something scary happens, it’s not always at night. Most importantly, this film makes sure the characters do what the audience would usually be shouting out at them to do in older horror classics. People will cheer for the family’s decision early on in the film. (Not that it really helps them out anyway, but that’s beside the point.)

The cast is full of A-list talent. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson give great performances as the good-looking and terrified couple. Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye also make fine additions, but it is the ghost exterminators Specs and Tucker (played by Whannell and real-life best friend Angus Sampson) that will really win over audiences with their humorous performances that will remind many of John Goodman’s performance in Arachnophobia.

Even though many critics are spoiling the twist about this film, it would be a disservice to reveal anything more because all anybody should know is that it starts off as a typical haunted house film and becomes something far more “insidious” after that. It’s best to go into this supernatural chiller knowing as little as possible.

Insidious is everything the title promises it will be and then some. This film will most likely redefine Wan and Whannell’s image and the horror genre itself. It is for the young, the old, the stoned and the true fans of the genre. Make sure to catch Insidious when you can!

5 out of 5

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  • Terminal

    Four knives for me. This is one my favorite movies of the year. Fucking menacing and scary as hell. Well done.
    “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

  • kiddcapone

    Okay, here goes. Insidious. I really really loved most of this. I really really disliked some of it. I’m completely torn. The parts that worked, fucking WORKED. The first 2/3 of it was awesome. Very creepy. Very intense. For the first time in a long time I actually had goosebumps and was on the edge of my seat. But then…astral-projection. The Poltergeist 2: The other side third act. The red demon lair. The comic relief paranormal investigators. The very end. I just don’t know. It not need any moments of humor what-so-ever.

    I’m not quite sure why it says in the review about a “twist” ending. To be honest, I didn’t think there was a twist at all. It didn’t lead you down one path and then hit you with a 180 turn. It was what it was.

    Insidious really had the potential to knock it out of the park. With a few minor changes, I would absolutely love the movie. Unfortunately, there’s several things that just prevent this from happening. While I’m glad I watched it, and I’ll probably add it to my Blu-Ray collection when it comes out, it’s far from a potential horror classic.


    BTW: I’m sure you caught it, but when the guy was sitting in the classroom and you can see the chalkboard behind him, it clearly says James Wan, then 2 seconds later in the same spot, there’s a chalk drawing of the Saw puppet there. I actually found that stupid. We know who the fuck you people are, we don’t need you throwing in homage’s to yourselves. Good lord.

    • LSD Zombie

      Perhaps critics referred to it as a twist ending because you assumed *SPOILER*

      The kid would be possessed instead of the father. That’s what I thought was going to happen. As for the third act and the comedy relief, I had no problems with it.

      • kiddcapone

        That’s actually one of the biggest flaws of the movie. When they explained astral projection, they said the longer the person is outside of the body,the easier it is for the person to possess the empty vessel. Well, the kid was gone for months before the darth maul guy jumped in his body for a brief moment and the father was gone for 20 minutes at most and the wicked Mary Shaw witch hopped right in there. It went against it’s own made-up rule just for the sake of a surprise ending.

        • Katsumi

          If you think about it, its really not breaking its own made up rule because they say the dad had the problem as a child and she got very close to getting in the first time…

          So once the dad was reminded of everything it not only brought all them supressed memories the psyich was trying to make him forget but it also left his mind very vulnarable to anything so in reality it made it all that much easier for that to happen to the dad

    • LifeMi

      Insidious lost all hope in the third act, but honestly I didn’t care for the rest of it at all. I found it incredibly dull and boring; Wilson was an asshole, Byrne did nothing but cry and look sad and the kids were pretty weak. It should’ve been a creepy, subtle possession movie. We didn’t need Darth Maul and Mary Shaw to pop up in the third act, nor did we need Lin Shaye. If you’re going to use Lin Shaye, how could you not have fun? I respect your opinion and, to give the film a slither of credit, it does have a couple of creepy images. But it’s nowhere near enough. As far as the chalkboard, I didn’t notice. I think I was so out of it by then I didn’t care; I wanted it over so bad by that point.

  • LifeMi

    Insidious is this year’s The Fourth Kind; it’s that movie that has so much potential and could be good, but it just pisses it all away and sucks horribly. I was furious by the time it was over. Fuck Insidious.

  • James Coker

    I’m Happy for this Review, About time Wan got back on his feet, Dead Silence was decent but that got my hope high

  • G.D.


    5/5? Are you OUT of your fucking MIND?

    That’s a joke right? I mean, it’s Sept 18th, but maybe in your mind it’s still April 1st?

    Please tell me that’s it…

    I’m not famous enough to be Punk’d, so…

  • nonserviam03

    interesting. I’ve been wanting to see more stuff from James Wan. I’ll definitely have to check this out.