Beginning as a rather cliché ‘American family move into a new house and the terror commences’ tale, Insidious is starts off as mediocre horror with a few jump-worthy moments.
The Lamberts are our family of the month and it is an accident which comatoses the eldest son, Dalton, that sparks a chain of events; strange noises on the baby monitor, shadows and ghosts making their fleeting appearances. Bringing nothing new to what is quite frankly an overdone plot device, I settled in for a comfortable, familiar experience.
When the film took an unexpected turn, I was pleasantly surprised and filled with hope that this would be the rare kind of film that would finally jumpstart the haunted house genre. It emerges that (*spoiler*) Dalton is not in fact comatose, but is in a state of astral projection. In this other ‘plane’, a demon is after Dalton. Eager to see where this would take us, I started to pay a little more attention. But not for long.
After its brief revival, Insidious rapidly descends into what I can only describe as a miserable joke. Suddenly, what was actually a somewhat credible film is bombarded with ridiculous special effects and even more ridiculous costumes. When the ‘prescence’ is finally manifested, the result is laughable (which was actually my physical reaction). Despite the fact that the Lamberts are fighting for their son, I found the latter half of the film entirely comical.
Once the disappointment of expecting an intense horror only to be given a low-budget comedy (comedic for all the wrong reasons) wore off, I found myself feeling intensely angry. Angry that such a huge amount of money was ever wasted on (and made from) such an insulting piece of cinema. I cannot honestly credit anyone involved in making this film with having any real talent.
Unfortunately, it seems that Insidious was a cheap shot – a film marketed in the right way for the mass supernatural horror audience. I fail to understand how the film garnered such success – many people I personally know and with whom I have a similar taste in film thought this a modern-day masterpiece. It lacks momentum, the characters are ineffectual and the ‘scariness’ wears off after the first half. I cannot respectfully recommend this film to anyone.