It's been a while since I have gone to the theater and seen a good scary movie. Let's review, shall we? Within the last seven months I have seen The Last Exorcism, Devil, The Roommate, Season of the Witch, and Red Riding Hood. With only one of those movies being any good (I'll let you decide which one that is), I am glad we have Insidious.
You would probably know Director James Wan and Writer Leigh Whannell better as the guys who brought us the original 'Saw'. Well, the two have paired back up to tell the story of the Lambert family and their recently comotosed son, Dalton, whose spirit has been lost to a realm called The Further. Racing against time, the Lamberts must return their son's spirit to his unconscious body before something much more sinister takes his place.
When you first hear about it you may think that this is just another run-of-the-mill possession flick. In many ways, you'd be right. As the Lamberts go about trying to return their son's spirit, it's hard not to remember the classics. The cinematography and overall presentation feels like The Grudge, the overall story resembles a strange hybrid between Poltergeist and The Exorcist, a lot of the scares feel familiar, and there are a few allusions to Saw, even a hit at an eigth one.
But no matter how cliche things seem, this movie adds its own little twists that up the creep factor and overall appeal of the film. For instance, during the seance scene the clarivoyant wears a ridiculously large gas mask that sent shivers down my spine and made me laugh at the same time. This film is definitely aware of its silliness, but doesn't allow it to overshadow the darker elements; it would have its fun and then snap right back to being creepy, which it does well.
Unlike the 'Saw' franchise, this movie doesn't get its kicks from dismemberment. Instead, Wan sets up a somewhat familiar string of "gotcha" moments, some are false while others are the real deal. Sure this isn't exactly a new frontier for horror films, but when it's done right, you don't need anything else and Wan does it right.
Yes Insidious has its flaws: the acting isn't all that great and everything, for the most part, has been done, but I am willing to forgive those things because it takes what it's given and turns it into an irresistible house of horrors.