Insidious is a 2010 horror film, directed by James Wan and both an homage and different take to the poltergeist, haunting sub-genre in horror with a different type of haunting entirely, the film stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, with some great performances from Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson especially. They make a believable couple and they really sell the anguish and fear they have for their child, wanting to badly get him back. Wilson is sort of the guy when it comes to playing the role of the paranormal investigator in horror films based on hauntings these days and he always tends to do a great job.
Insidious made its’ name for itself in being different and nuanced for a horror film, it was sort of a homage to haunted house movies but it’s a spin on that type of horror story with the child Dalton being the subject of the evil spirits haunting, rather than the house itself, which was a big element in the films’ marketing prior to release, telling audiences why the film was different without specifically saying it was different.
And for the most part it works really well, Insidious doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or loud bangs to scare the viewer but works with its’ great build up to reveals, it’s subtle inferences and the way it effectively builds tension and suspense while the story goes on, also helped by the great score used in the film. Similar to Sinister, it’s used effectively in scenes and helps to build and maintain tension, also relieving it when necessary, the film is well crafted and very well shot, with different types of shots being used to show a spirit lingering in the background or a supernatural event, the subtlety of some scenes in Insidious are what makes it effective horror. And it works without being overtly in the audiences face for the majority of the plot. Also the thought of spirits haunting a person and wanting to steal their soul is pretty terrifying in itself, you can imagine how powerless the characters feel as things go on.
Insidious is a very creepy film, though some of that fear factor does wane a bit once the main demonic spirit is revealed and yes he does kinda look like Darth Maul but still the main evil spirit is a menacing force and had some pretty interesting character design. The way spirits are shown in the plot is just looks very different and the way they showed the spirit world paralleling the physical one was interesting. The film has a fair amount of CGI but it works well in tandem with a decent amount of practical effects which is always a good thing in horror, also the film doesn’t rely on cheap CGI scares for its’ fear factor, rather opting the slow, building terror that gradually builds to boiling point where action has to be taken.
And the final third of the film is satisfying for the most part, with a series of events that is a bit predictable, but still packing an emotional punch which concludes in a good way.
. Well told, well put together plot
. Effective use of music to build atmosphere, tension
. Has effective ways of creeping out the viewer, is more unsettling than outright scary