Review – Insidious

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It’s not the house that’s haunted… it’s that dude from Watchmen!

oh Insidious…my mother tried to warn me about you…. You smooth talkin little pg-13 number. I had my guard up too.. I wasn’t about to let your first and second acts woo me into a false sense of security. After all, this is’nt my first rodeo you know. I know better than this.. I really do. You came on strong and told me everything that I wanted to hear… You provided an easy to follow plot with plenty of tension and well acting. You had me all figured out. A couple of drinks later and i’m naked in a truck stop bathroom, trying to find my cell phone and the faint hint of ether still hangs in the air.. I thought you loved me… OK… Now that I’ve been to group and have the emotional tool sets to cope, lemme give you my real insidious review. Hold on… What I meant to say is, ” let me preface my Insidious review.” I am in the business of horror movies. I have seen the good, the bad, the weird and the batshit intolerable ones. An homage to me at this point is useless. Most modern horror films are already homages, minus the self awareness that makes them endearing. ( see my Scream 4 review) Thus now beginneth the odyssey that is my mixed feelings on Insidious. Insidious gets so much right that I can’t seem to understand why I’m finding it so hard to look past it’s flaws. Insidious opens with such an oppressive heavy feeling of dread that it’s hard not to be affected by the tone of this picture. It is the tone of Insidious that automatically Draws you into it. It establishes a universe that is easy to believe and easy to live in for the duration of the film. It is a universe very much like our own with a couple who could easily be your next door neighbors. They are unspectacular and ordinary in all the right ways and add to the general believability that is one of insidious’s many strengths.

Make no mistake, Insidious works.. It works so well on so many different levels that it feels like little more then a cheap shot when i start to point out it’s weaknesses. I love the paranormal. For all it’s nerdy chicanery, the world of the paranormal is still a fun and provocative place. Maybe it is my decade long inundation of this world that ultimately starts to pull me out of the Insidious universe. You see, I am more of a journey than a destination guy. Endings rarely give me the kind of gratification that getting there does (don’t let this disuade you from trying ladies.. Ziiiiing!!!!). “The Further”‘ the mystical Pangea that connects our world to another for those unluckiest of astral travelers who reach it, works better as an unseen threat. The moment we enter The Further, we enter into a navigable world with rules, guidelines and limitations. It is here that Insidious’s creep factor starts to drop off sharply.

One of the good things about Insidious is that it has come out in a time where the horror genre is so steeped in pointless torture porn clones that even when it comes dangerously close to ripping off some of it’s predecessors (again, sometimes an homage in all it’s flattery can still seem unnecessary when the plot device mimicked is a central crux to the story) it is almost welcome. In all sincerity there are many, many good things about insidious including all of the fine performances turned in from Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and the rest of the cast, including Barbara Hershey. It is Lin Shaye that does a pretty good Zelda Rubinstein and makes her part one of the most memorable (sad it is though I will always remember her from the farrely’s brothers’ Kingpin – “what is it about good sex that always makes me have to crap?” Insidious’s score is really the trump card here. Joseph Bishara has brought the heebyjeebies and his a game giving every moment of the film a lush texture of anxiety and fear. For those of you that miss the film’s finer visual points, it’s hard to knock this soundtrack, one of the better I’ve heard from a horror offering in years. Insidious is memorable, even if some of those memories may seem a little “borrowed”. Recommended.

Written by
Ash Hamilton is not only the owner of, but also one of its major contributors. A long time horror movie enthusiast, Ash has lent his personality to radio and television and continues to support his favorite genre through his writing and art. He also loves beef jerky and puppies... and low-grade street-quality hallucinogens.

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