So, it seems as if James Wan just poops out horror movies. Not in the derogatory sense – it’s just that a lot of the more original works that I’ve seen in the last decade belong to him. From 2004’s Saw (of the series he only directed the first, which may be the reason it is the only one I like) to this year’s The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2. But more on that later (check back on Jan. 23 for Chris’s review of Insidious 2).
Anywho, Insidious is a fairly original tale revolving around astral projection, apparitions, inanimate objects moving by themselves, death and, of course, family issues. The story transpires thusly: The eldest child of the Lambert family, Dalton, falls into a mysterious, sustained coma and then creepy/weird sh$! begins to happen around the Lambert home.
Well, well, well. Come to find out that the father of the comatose child, Josh, happened to be quite the ethereal traveler during his own childhood. He used to astrally project himself, when he slept, to a place coined “The Further,” a place inhabited by the spirits of the departed that have yet to move on. The memory of Josh’s ability and his experiences in The Further were suppressed by a rather powerful psychic at his mother’s behest. Apparently, there was a rather malevolent spirit that terrorized him when he would sleep, which also spilled over into the real world when he awoke.
With the revelation of Josh’s past, his mother calls in the same psychic to now help Dalton. Apparently astral projection is a hereditary trait. The psychic discovers that Dalton is being held captive by a demon who wants to use him to break through into our world and, well, do what demons do, I guess. So now it is up to his father to once again enter a dark realm, and to hopefully bring his son back to the land of the living.
While the storyline gets a little…convoluted at times, the overall plot is decently innovative with gripping performances given by Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy, The Conjuring) and Rose Byrne (Sunshine, Get Him to the Greek) as desperate parents who will do whatever it takes to save their son. They have two other children, so why these weren’t endowed with the same psychic abilities is anybody’s guess.
The spook tactics in this film are mostly the inanimate object movement and various ghosts popping up out of no where to make us jump. However, towards the end, scary turns to creepy when the scenes begin to get a bit more what I would call “creative” and “artsy.” The end is a little ambiguous but the film is definitely worth a watch.
Chris Moore is a freelance masochist and an aspiring wordsmith. His travels have made him a self proclaimed expert on all things frightening, odd, and entertaining. On breaks from jet setting and bourbon guzzling, he graces SML with pithy and satirical commentary on what – or what not – to watch. All hail the Maniacal Master of Movie Reviews! The second most interesting man in the world. Read more from Chris here.