Who you gonna call?
James Wan and Leigh Whannal didn’t really prove much by cramming clunky death traps into a two hour mash up and splattering blood all over the screen throughout the Saw series. But their latest collaboration,Insidious, proves that you don’t need excessive gore or violence to make something that feels genuinely ‘scary’. This latest paranormal horror-thriller turns the simple bump in the night into a wild and exhilarating ghost-train ride that will leave you in every aspect scared stiff.
When young Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a mysterious coma, his parents Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) are baffled and despaired when doctors are unable to explain his mysterious ailment. But when creepy and mysterious events begin to plague the family, it becomes clear that Dalton’s ‘illness’ is anything but a simple coma…
With horror elements swinging in full force from the very beginning, the movie is, bluntly speaking, nothing short of terrifying. Wan and Whannal breakout from their usual motive of spraying the audience with bloodshed and instead utilise eerie shock tactics and the build-up of suspense to for fright. As clichéd as it sounds, it’s used in such a way that makes the film feel truly frightening; the idea of familiarity is diminished as each scene makes you jump in a different way and manner.
Whannal poses as the writer – something of a worry and a charm considering his involvement in Dead Silence in 2007. The plot takes its time to build up the atmosphere and the dialogue isn’t too shocking, save for a few clichéd and badly-delivered lines during the Séance. But Insidious’ plot begins to suffer come the ‘second-half’, with the characters delving into ideas of astral projection, demonic presence and paranormal activity. As much as the horror element still works, the action seems to trail off until we’re left with something resembling the latter half of a fantasy-horror film.
But if it’s anything from ghosts to demons to raspy whispering on the baby monitor, it’s the music that drives the horror; Joseph Bishara’s use of violin chords and powerhouse volume are enough to send tingles running down your spine. Each sound amplifies the atmosphere to levels that have you leaning forward in your seat and holding your breath. Of course it has its moments where it can be too loud (the opening and closing scenes nearly unnecessarily blowing your eardrums to pieces in a manner that seems farcical), but otherwise it’s delivered in a way that doesn’t seem extremely out of proportion.
We all saw the Saw films (and how pathetic they were for six elongated sequels) but for the veterans this is a breath of fresh air. Insidious balances out good horror with great design, and the results are all the more skin-crawling. Best to make sure that you sleep with the night-light on…and probably check the baby’s room for anything with a red face.