Insidious is the latest collaboration between horror filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Wannel. Insidious is a classic horror film of two halves; the first half is frightening, not scary. The difference being that scares are cheap and are over in an instant. A frightening film keeps you in fear and for long durations of the film. The second half gets a bit silly, and has an increase in the amount of jump scares.
The film has its own take on the traditional haunted house story by having a haunted child instead; which is an interesting concept as most of the dread and fright is being generated by an unknown force. We have all seen haunted house stories done to death as well as films dealing with possession, but the focal point of the film is a young boys unexplained lapse into a coma which results in strange occurrences in whichever house the parents are living in.
Speaking of said parents, they are played by Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, who work well together and the conflict comes in a common form; one parent choses the scientific possibility for what has happened to their son, whereas the other believes in the paranormal, which in turn leads to a predictable turn of events during the film.
Like I said earlier, The first half is top quality. It effectively establishes the characters so that we actually care for them as well as their children.
The “enemy” of the film is a demon that is trying to take control of the young boys body. For the first half of the film, the demon isn’t fully shown, only being seen in different forms; whether it’s in a sketch, a dream or a bloody handprint, the way in which we are introduced to the demon fills the audience with dread and fear. But when we fully see the demon, i felt the fear and dread escaping from this character because of its look. It looked like Darth Maul from Star Wars with hooves which immediately i was wondering what I was scared of in the first place. But up until that point, Insidious is an effective horror film with good story and characters and most importantly, fear.
For me, there are two components that help with the fear of the movie; the score and the colour palette. We first encounter the horrifying music at the beginning of the movie where we see an old woman through a window, then the piercing violin sound suddenly starts with “INSIDIOUS” in large blood red letters. Secondly, the colour used is actually almost completely without colour apart from red, which is used as a sign for the audience. The absence of colour seems as if the film itself is without life.
Insidious is a film of two halves. The first half is frighting, the second isn’t. Simple as that. But it is very much worth watching.