Director James Wan and Writer Leigh Whannell team up for a clever, thrilling twist on the creepy kid horror movie in Insidious.
From IMDb: A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.
I can’t believe I haven’t done a “Why You Should Watch” on this movie before. Going into Insidious, I was completely convinced it was going to be generic “spooky little kid” CGI garbage movie before finally sitting down to watch it. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it, and how much I still enjoy watching it. This is the type of horror movie that gives me those rare “I found a really good one” vibes that keep me watching horror movies in the first place.
Insidious is drenched with atmosphere.
It feels like the movie should feel generic but it’s just not. If you love a horror movie with a compelling soundtrack, sound design, and a flair for the drama you will love this movie. It also has one of the creepiest little “did I just see that?” moments as well as one of the best jump scares ever crafted. And did I mention the supporting leader/badass paranormal expert is a 60something woman?!
The first moments of the film immediately signal this is not generic schlock – you are in the hands of a skilled duo who know exactly have to craft a riveting horror experience. The opening sequence starts with a camera slowly panning round a house with a sleeping family before the camera focuses in on the shadowy visage of a ghostly woman. Violins begin shrieking in an unnerving warning of what’s to come. Then the screen fades to black – it seems you are safe. Until you are startled so badly by screeching violins revealing the title card you accidentally astral project yourself out of your own body.
About that creepy “did I just see that?” moment. At one point, there is a pounding on the front door in the middle of the night which is one of the most realistically unnerving things I hate to see in horror movies. It’s one of the many reasons The Strangers scared me so deeply. As Patrick Wilson’s character Josh investigates the knocking, Rose Byrne’s character Renai hears the baby crying and walks over to the baby’s room only to see what appears to be a figure standing behind the crib for a split second.
The moment Josh runs into the room, the figure is gone and even as an audience we are left to wonder if we really just saw that. Moments like this are so effective yet rare in horror, where there’s a scare you can easily miss but if you spot it you are ready to just about pass out at how creepy it is. It’s the same reason I love Ghostwatch and the library scene in It: Part 1.
The Darth Maul demon jumpscare in a later scene has to be experienced to be believed. It is top five material for sure. And I didn’t even mention the “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” scene but yikes.
I wrote a separate post about my love for Elise, but I’ll just add that I’m an absolute sucker for seance scenes, stylized movies, and voiceovers. Insidious has the well-executed scares of The Conjuring movies sans the religious overtones and with more complexity and world-building.
Insidious is a great movie alone OR with a special someone OR with a group of friends and some adult beverages. You might laugh a bit at old Darth Maul, but you will likely be startled and thoroughly entertained by the end. This is the kind of horror movie that gets you hyped and leaves you hyped. And thankful you aren’t going to be visiting The Further anytime soon.