Monday, 26 March 2012

Half Arsed Review: Insidious

James Wan, the same guy who brought Saw to the screen, brings us a new take on the tried and tested haunted house genre of horror films.

My favourite haunted house film is, and probably always will be, the Japanese version of The Grudge. It's just a perfect supernatural threat, as it's inescapable and as mysterious as it is deadly. Why this terrible murder at this house? Was it built on an Chinese burial ground? They don't tell you. They just present you with a fact, and that fact is, "anyone who goes to the house will die".

Now let's get back, or begin, talking about Insidious. It's very similar in plot to Poltergeist, with Patrick Wilson stepping in as the sceptical father and Rose Byrne as the "hysterical" mum character.

It all follows the same plot as it always does, "House is haunted, move house, new house haunted, actually it's the boy that's haunted, dad goes into other world, everyone lives happily ever after" Well, most people live, but happily ever after? Hmm...

So it's just the same as all the other films out there then? Well, no. This has an ace up it's sleeve. That ace being that this film is scary. It's expertly made to lure you into a false sense of security before making you jump (or in my long suffering lady wife Louise's case, scream as loud as possible into my ear).

There's a bit with some really creepy photo's, a bit with a scary moment where you really don't expect there to be one, and the film warrants a second watch as you will pick up more the second time than the first (with regards to certain plot elements being signposted earlier on)

So as a whole, the plot is similar but the scares are fresh. The acting in it, is also top notch, and even the child actors don't come across as the usual whiny little kids like the kid who played Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars Episode 1 : A Phantom Menace... which brings me to two things that Insidious and Episode 1 have in common.

Firstly is the CGI. Insidious is scary, till they bring in some Jarring CGI that looks out of place and subsequently ruins the feel of the film (Just as in Episode 1, where everything looked "too new" to happen a long time ago in a galaxy far far away)

Then there's the main (or secondary) villain in Insidious. I'm not the only person who noticed this, as I found the following picture quite easily. So tell me, do you spot any similarities?

Granted, they aren't Identical... but they're certainly related, surely? When you want to make a scary monster, do NOT make it look like a character from another movie, as it'll detract from your monster's terror factor. After I'd seen the "demon" for the first time, all I could think was "So this is what happened to Darth Maul after Star Wars!"

That aside, the film is a pretty good modern horror. I suggest watching it with the lights off, the sound up and on your own.

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