Insidious is a film about a young couple with three kids who move to a new home only to have their eldest son stuck into a mysterious coma that doctors could not explain. The wife Renai (Rose Byrne) suspects that the house may be haunted due to the weird stuff that keeps happening and the strange noises that she keeps hearing but the husband Josh (Patrick Wilson) initially turns a deaf ear to her theories. When the spirits start to grow more aggressive, the family decides to move to a new house but find that hauntings have followed them to their new abode.
Based on the trailer, the film had great potential to a be a creepy paranormal experience. While I have no love lost for any of the film’s lead characters (whom I hated from their earlier portrayals in Watchmen and Knowing), I decided to give the movie a chance because of the idea that this time around, the house is not the one being haunted but rather the child who was in the coma.
The movie took its sweet time establishing the haunting, maybe a little too much because over 50 minutes into the movie, the couple was still trying to figure out what was going on, and only then did Josh’s mother refer a psychic to help them with their supernatural problem. While the movie tries to establish the creep factor with ominous scoring and numerous spiritual and demonic manifestations, it gets kind of tedious for the viewers after a while because the trailer has already mentioned the crux of the matter (the child was the one being haunted by malevolent spirits who want to inhabit his body). The execution of the movie was passable enough but not entirely scary. It comes across as a mix of poltergeist/paranormal activity/exorcist and brought nothing new to the table. During the movie’s climax, there were also a lot of unnecessary scenes that could have been cut from the movie entirely and it wouldn’t have an effect on the general outcome. The problem with movies like Insidious (while I admit that it has a badass title) is that audience’s expect a wicked twist in the end, and the ending proved to be quite predictable in comparison to other movies that tackled the same genre. There was no WTF! moment when the connection between the father and the son was revealed or no explanation why the father would leave the son to fend for himself as soon as they got to the final stretch of their journey to deal with his own demons.
The attempt at humor with the appearance of the two nerdy paranormal assistants actually reminded me of Supernatural’s Ghostfacers but with less appeal so I don’t know if their presence affected the movie in a positive or negative way, as with the casting of Lin Shaye (who by the way is a great actress) as the psychic Elise because I’ve never seen her in anything other than comedies in the past. Other than that, the cast did a great job and their performances made me forgive Wilson and Byrne for their earlier “crimes.” The cinematography and the scoring also deserve much credit but I’m not sure if Insidious will make it to me list of creepiest movies of all time. It just didn’t work as well for me, I guess, but that’s just me.