Review: Insidious (15) / Directed by: James Wan / Screenplay by: Leigh Whannell / Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins
When Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) move into their dream house with their young family, they look forward to a bright and happy future together. However, it's not long before strange things start to happen, and their oldest son falls into a coma that seems to defy medical science. As the stress of their situation mounts, Josh starts avoiding the house, while Renai deals with a series of bizarre encounters and comes to the realisation that their house is haunted.
Like anyone with a shred of sense, they pack up and move to a new home, only to find that the ghosts have followed them and that it may not be the house that’s haunted.
Insidious is a frustrating film to watch. There are parts of the movie that are very well done indeed, with the tension building up slowly until it reaches fever pitch. Unfortunately, it’s at this point where the filmmakers usually do something to completely negate the fear and tension that it worked so hard to create. Characters launch into long, unnecessary pieces of exposition and there are two comedy sidekicks to the obligatory psychic, that seem to have wandered in from another movie altogether.
That’s not to say Insidious is a terrible movie. After a slow start it picks up the pace and delivers some effective, solid scares. The acting is OK, without any real standout performances, but no really dreadful ones (except the comedy sidekicks previously mentioned), and while the plot is more than a little similar to pretty much every other haunted house movie in existence, it does the job and is engaging, up to the final act where it gets a little contrived and silly.
All in all, Insidious is a missed opportunity. If the filmmakers had kept building the tension and drip-fed the back-story instead of giving it to us all in big meandering chunks, it could have been an effective, if unoriginal ghost story.
As it stands, there are parts of it that work really well, that are spoiled somewhat by the bits that don’t.
If you can suspend you sense of disbelief, there are many worse movies to watch on Halloween. It’s just a shame, because with a little effort, Insidious could have been so much better.
Extras: Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar / On Set With Insidious / Insidious Entities / Trailer
Expected Rating: 7/10
Insidious is out now on DVD/Blu-ray