Film Review: Insidious (2010)

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Occasion: Alone at home during a storm

Anticipation: Medium

Overall Rating

 

Insidious begins simply and perhaps even a little formulaic: a young family moves into a new home. There is a creepy attic, a troubled child, things hiding in the shadows, an absent husband (Wilson) leaving his exhausted wife (Byrne) alone during the day.

 

While the film uses traditional possession film queues, it does so to great effect, leaving its audience squirming nervously as demonic whispers crackle through the baby monitor and spectral figures emerge from murky corners. The first act is masterfully paced, allowing the viewer only glimpses of the evil lurking in the darkness of peripheral vision.  Byrne is particularly lovely as the despairing mother, her mind slowly eroded by grief and disturbing apparitions.

 

Unfortunately while Insidious starts with such promise, its final act fails to deliver. The unease which the film had built up earlier is ruined by heavy-handed kitsch. The demons and spirits presented in ‘the Further’ show none of the subtlety of the earlier horrors. Not only are they not frightening, they are mostly superfluous to the overall film.

 

Insidious is a terrifying film, but looses momentum towards the end. With less of the grotesque and more of the anxiety-inducing subtlety that is its strength, this could have been one of the scariest films I’ve seen.

 

Movie vitals:

 

Insidious

 

Directed by James Wan

 

Starring Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins


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