Insidious is a horror movie that really stops short of being an equal to greats like “the exorcist” and “the Ring.” The overall film has a great feel to it, an amazing score, great opening credits, pretty decent acting, but a plot that doesn’t quite wrap itself up properly, and gets lost in attempts to make it grander.
In the beginning we’re offered a brief and effective introduction to what this film will feel like, very eerie, creepy, with subtle haunting imagery. The opening credits were something right out of a Japanese horror film, and the title screen shot resembles classic horror films from the early 60’s and 70’s. The entire first half of the film was perfect, Dutch angles, uneasy environment, built-up tension that was so prominent that your stomach felt tight.
The story begins to leans towards a default “haunting” film, where the audience is led to believe that this will be a Grudge/Ring-esq film, where there is a tragedy that leads the family to be attacked by whatever ghost is not at rest. However, the film makes a complete “u-Turn.”
The father Josh Lambert, played by Patrick Wilson, begins to have visions of his son Dalton, played by Ty Simpkins, who has mysteriously went into a coma-like state, that doctors have no treatment for. It’s later found out that the son is having outer body experiences, which leave his body vulnerable to spirits who are trying to find a “host.” Renai Lambert, the mother who is played by Rose Byrne, contacts ghost specialists, who show up and bring an unnecessary comic relief. It’s then found out that the father has the same outer- body experience ability, and he has to go into a netherrealm and find his son. The entire thing comes off as being beyond cheesy, and the characters are just way to excepting of the situation. After this whole reveal, it becomes more thriller, less horror, and very humorous.
When the big reveal finally showed the Insidious ghost, or demon, the overwhelming likeness to Darth Maul is completely counter productive to what they were trying to accomplish. Even though they emphasized how terrifying this demon was, the entire mood was gone once we saw him sharpening his claws in a playroom while “tip-toe, through the tulips” played in the background. All of a sudden the film turned into Wes Cravens new Nightmare. It seems as though, if they wanted to, that the Insidious Demon could be marketed as a reoccurring horror icon, which would be an interesting possibility, even if it sacrifices the entire feel of the film. The scariest part of this film was the “old lady” who’s character design was relentlessly frightening, no matter how many times you saw her. Overall, Insidious was a great idea, that was executed well for half of the film.