PLOT OVERVIEW: Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) move into a darling new home with their darling family but there is nothing darling about the evil spirits creeping around at all hours of the day. I’m sure Josh and Renai would invite them in for some tea but they insist on possessing their son instead. You just can’t please some spirits.
Horror movies have their trends. Recently torture porn became a big thing. Instead of spooks and scares; horror movies were just being grotesque. Why be compelling when you can show multiple characters get eviscerated. That has thankfully died out in favor of movies about vampires or zombies. So how fitting is it that the writer/director combo that gave us Saw, Leigh Whannell and James Wan, would give us a departure from that trend with their third film outing. I liked the first Saw film and I’m one of the rare people who thought Dead Silence was nifty. I don’t know why they don’t make more films. They are the kind of horror movie auteurs that could give the genre the kick in the pants it needs. They should at least be making more movies than M. Night does.
Insidious is sort of a throwback to films such as the original House on Haunted Hill. It’s a PG-13 movie but manages to be more terrifying than anything else in the last couple years. That’s because James Wan understands illusion in film making. He doesn’t elect for computer effects to get his scares. He puts things in the background and foreground quite casually but with a bizarre juxtaposition. It is that very combination of casualness and bizarreness that makes you yelp a little when you see something. Wan achieves his vision through great set design, costuming, make up and staging. This film is nice to watch if only to look at the little tricks Wan is able to pull off.
The writing is strong for the most part. The premise grabs you but once it’s time to explain it all (Clarissa), the film gets a little too bogged down in explanation. Considering that this is a ghost film, the third act isn’t that much of a stretch but the execution is off. Where I should’ve been amped up I was kind of just nodding my head along. As if to say, “Okay but then what.” If you’ve seen Saw and Dead Silence than you know that Whannell ususally drags his feet in the third act because movies have to end somehow. I really loved this movie but I’ll be damned if it couldn’t have been better.
WHAT’S THE WORD: Funhouse. The experience I had watching this movie was much the same as walking through one of those funhouses at the county fair. I saw it with a group of friends in a pakced theater at midnight. (The only way to watch a horror film.) We were yelping in each other’s ears and grabbing each other the entire time. So grab a group of friends and watch this in the dark. Rent it on Halloween also. I’m sure it’ll be on DVD by then.
A SECOND OPINION: This is where Kam’s review belong but Kam is either lazy or forgetful. Let me try to paraphrase for him. “PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFSSSSSSSSSSSSSGGGGGGGGG. I liked it. Better than 27 Dresses and I’m not being tongue-in-cheek. I loved 27 Dresses.” Yes, Kam. We know you do.