Insidious begins with a very eerie sound. It visually takes you on a journey through a creepy house and flashes images of black and white on the screen of a little boy in his bed, a tall, grandfather clock, a shadowy figure standing outside of a window…As you are being led through the house, the score suddenly changes to a shrill sounding, piercing noise as they flash the name of the movie “INSIDIOUS” across the screen. It was off to a great start.
The movie has a great, small cast. It has a typical, American family with the good-looking, working father Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and the quietly beautiful stay at home mom with dreams of being a musician Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne). They have three children, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) Foster (Andrew Astor), and a new baby. They have not unpacked everything from their recent move, and the house is full of boxes and quite cluttered. One evening when the family is all sharing time together, Dalton runs upstairs to explore. He curiously sees the door to the attic and decides to go inside, but it is so dark he cannot see anything. He sees a rickety old ladder that leads up to a pull-string light. He climbs up slowly, but hits a broken rung and falls to the ground. He lifts his head and looks slowly behind him, only to let out a bloodcurdling scream. His parents rush up to help him, but can’t see anything wrong. However, the next day, he will not wake up and goes into a coma for months. After this incident, frightening events keep happening in the house. Renai is so scared that she asks Josh to move houses. They move, but the daunting occurrences continue at the new house. Renai is terrified. She thinks the house is haunted. After she speaks with Josh’s mother, they bring in an expert to test the house. The expert brings along with her two workers, who actually bring some humor into the movie. As a viewer you are so tense for so long waiting to see what is going to happen, and their witty playfulness is an unexpected surprise. The expert goes into Dalton’s room and finds that it is not the house that is haunted, it is their son. This is why moving did not help them in any way. They now must deal with trying to bring their son back from his coma and getting rid of the demon that haunts him.
The film’s cast focuses on acting, not on the green screen or the props or set. They take you deep within the horror that they are experiencing. They rely on each other to react to the situation that lies before them. It is a throwback to horror movies of the 1970’s, where there were not a lot of special effects to move the story along. The movie relies on the acting only to create feelings within the viewer of fear, despair, and hope.
The score was also very important in the movie. It was quiet and creepy when it needed to be, soft and heartfelt when necessary, and loud and overbearing when it was supposed to jolt the viewer. Much of the film was silent music-wise, except when music was needed. I enjoyed this aspect of the movie very much. It kept you involved with the story-line and in the present with the actors as they lived this nightmare.
Overall, I believe Insidious was a great film. It went in a different direction than the directors’ usual take on horror. It was not in your face, blood and gore. It took a completely normal family and threw them into a situation that they could have never expected. My only wish is that they had not leaked the fact that the child was possessed and not the house in the original trailer. That would have been an amazing reveal. Though it was a large part of the reason I decided to actually get out and go to the movies, I still would have loved to fid that out along with the actors as they tried to figure out what was going on with their family. I would surely recommend this to anyone who loves horror films, and especially the generation who grew up watching movies like “Psycho” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” This film was evocative of the more classic horror movies, and I love it for that.