Insidious lives up to its name as a dark surreal fairytale-like realm delivers real scares.
Insidious is a supernatural fantasy horror film with a surreal and fairytale-like atmosphere. It’s an original take on a haunted house tale, with more than just eerie ghosts, but with sinister horrifying demons as well.
With great cinematography, spooky shots and a newly created realm this film really knows how to scare its audience, while delivering a well-told story. A foreboding atmosphere, lots of tension and horrifying but original jump scares, create a terrifying horror that lives up to its name.
Josh and Renai Lambert move into a new home with their sons Dalton and Foster and baby girl Cali. But soon sinister and weird things start to happen. Renai hears voices on the babymonitor, but when Dalton falls into a coma, the doctors are puzzled.
After a few months Dalton comes back home where Renai can take care of him. But now the real creepiness is just about to start. It all seems connected with Dalton and when they move to a different home to hopefully escape the evil surrounding them, things are getting worse. Lorraine, Josh’s mother seems to know more and calls in the help of medium Elise Rainer to unravel the past and save the future of the Lamberts.
Why you should watch it
It starts out as a typical haunted house movie, with a normal family that is tormented by ghosts. With eerie noises, creepy occurrences and strange happenings the horror is slowly building up.
The cinematography is highly organic and moves around with the characters, giving the audience the feeling they are right there with them, making it all the more creepy. The feeling that something lurks behind every corner, that something sinister is in the other room, creeping up on you and when it does, it never lets go, is relentless.
This dynamic way of filming is alternated with more static shots, resembling the shock and terror feelings of the characters. The way the story is filmed, plays an important role in displaying the horror. As is the absolute terrifying and effective music by Joseph Bishara. The dissonant chords, the eerie notes and the overall creepy vibe the music creates is amazingly done. Add to this the bleak, blueish coloring, and the horror is complete. The cinematography, editing and music are really important elements to convey the terrifying atmosphere.
But this is just in the normal world. The tension is well-crafted and is building up over each act of the film. The first act is just the coma of Dalton and the strange and spooky happenings. The second act increases the terror by asking the help of medium Elise. Then things are really going to show. Creepy terrifying ghosts, shot in original scenes to make it even more scarier, but also a dreadful demon that shows up as the most scary jump scare you’ll ever see. This takes place in the new home, where they thought they could outrun the ghosts.
The third act is the surreal and really creepy finale. It takes place in The Further, a highly imaginative and scary place, a realm where ghosts and demons can end up. It’s a black void with people roaming the dark, where demons dwell and absoute scary but beautiful settings, set design and art decoration are a display of the absolute dread and terror. It’s quiet, almost serene-like but with a foreboding, eerie atmosphere, like a spookhouse but real.
To compensate the horror and find some relief Specs and Tucker bring in some humor and comic relief. As assistants of Elise they are a fun team and not at all what you expect with a medium like Elise. Elise herself is a great addition to the film and her seance to contact Dalton is very weird and creepy especially with the oxygen mask she puts on, it makes it all the more surreal.
My favorite part
The Further is beautifully designed and highly imaginative and is really terrifying. The surreal atmosphere and grotesque ghost people are very original and very scary indeed. But there are many more scares to be enjoyed.
The demon who walks outside the window, up and down, is a scary scene, but it even gets scarier when he is suddenly pacing in the room. It’s such a scary scene, because something being outside lurking is scary enough, but the idea that a window or walls don’t protect you in any way, makes it all the more scary.
Also the ghost boy in the new house, rocking back and forth to the record player, playing a creepy song, gave me the creeps. And when Renai sees him out of the corner of her eye, and when she takes a better look, he’s gone. Or is he?
And of course the Lipstick-Face demon played by Joseph Bishara and his heart attack jump scare will undoubtedly scare the hell out of you.
Insidious has a lot to offer. Great cinematography, editing and music. Excellent scares, of all kinds. Likable and believable characters and a highly original story taking place in an even more imaginative and original setting called The Further. It’s an absolute treat for horror fans, who want the whole package.
Scare factor: ★★★★★
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
Insidious is directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell. It stars Patrick Wilson (Josh), Rose Byrne (Renai), Barbara Hershey (Lorraine), Ty Simpkins (Dalton), Lin Shaye (Elise), Leigh Whannell (Specs), Angus Sampson (Tucker) and Andrew Astor (Foster).
Duration: 102 minutes. Music by: Joseph Bishara. Cinematography: John R. Leonetti, David M. Brewer. Edited by: James Wan, Kirk M. Morri. Produced by: Jason Blum, Steven Schneider, Oren Peli. Production companies: FilmDistrict, IM Global, Stage 6 Films, Alliance, Haunted Movies. Distributed by: FilmDistrict.