Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Month of Horror Day 15: Insidious

Basement contributor Matt Bellamy has taken it upon himself to watch and review at least one horror movie a day for the month of October . . . because he's awesome that way! For this entry, Bellamy takes in a horror flick that's so well regarded that it's, well, Insidious.

I respect and appreciate what writer-director James Wan did with 'Insidious' more than I actually enjoyed it. Now, that's not to say that I dislike this movie but I didn't flip head over heels for it like a lot of people did--in my mind it's good but not great. I love a good haunted house movie, especially one that relies more on old-fashioned scares instead of R-rated violence and bloodshed, a personal preference that may not float your boat but that's what makes the world go round, as they say! My issues with 'Insidious' echo the same issues that many other people have with this movie: the first half is terrific and then it goes off the rails towards the end and nearly ruins everything that came before it. Everything in the first hour or so is fantastic--things go bump in the night (and day), extremely creepy looking figures are glimpsed and then disappear, objects move seemingly on their own and the very game cast all react appropriately.

Speaking of the cast, that's one of the highlights of the movie with Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, and Lin Shaye all contributing great performances, they're having a really fun time here. Byrne and Wilson play the mother and father of a family moving into a new house which is always an exciting life event but soon after, as you can imagine, things just aren't quite right. That could sum up just about every "haunted house" movie ever made and it's not like the story is completely original, it's not, but the execution is very well done, and that's what matters. Now, how many times have you watched a movie like this and asked "why don't they just move out??". Good question! It is addressed fairly early on and guess what, they do move out! There's something far more... INSIDIOUS at play here though and it's not the house that is haunted... DUN DUN DUNN!!! What this film feels like to me is a warm up to the infinitely better 'The Conjuring' that came out this summer which took many of the themes presented here and improved on the material in every way. 

So, what derails 'Insidious'? It's called "The Further" and it's a dimension that a couple of the characters travel to at one point that is so ludicrous it may take you right out of the movie, like it did for me. It was obvious that they did not have the budget to create this "world" and make it believable, instead it coming off looking cheap and ridiculous--Patrick Wilson even seems like he's having a difficult time keeping a straight face during these scenes. You may love it though! You may really enjoy "The Further" and if that's the case then all the power to you! This is half of a really good movie, and I'd be tempted to just turn it off after an hour upon repeat viewings and feel content with that decision.

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